The colouRED CHAMELEON Project
Giving voice to those sidelined
This social and artistic project to be undertaken in the “Coloured” townships of Cape Town was conceived by the South African choreographer, Desire Davids, with the goal of giving voice to a forgotten community, the “Coloureds”.
"Objectified", and forced by apartheid into a fabricated racial group encompassing the diverse descendants of a melding of Europeans, slaves, Khoisans, and black peoples, well over four million “Coloured” South Africans match the white population in numbers, but have nevertheless been marginalised in the post-apartheid South African society.
Not white enough during apartheid and for a greater part of today's reality, not black enough to benefit from positive discrimination, South Africa’s “Coloured” communities still struggle to find their place 23 years after the abolition of apartheid.
“Coloured” dancer and choreographer, Desiré Davids is a fervent voice for these citizens without a true voice.
Desiré Davids is creating a “Season of Dance with the EOAN Group”. The Joseph Stone Theatre, located in the heart of Cape Town’s “Coloured” townships, houses the EOAN Group (a cultural association) and plays an essential role in providing access to the arts for this underprivileged population.
Between November 25th and December 18th, 2014, Desiré Davids will be organising free dance workshops for children and teenagers from the surrounding townships.
December 3rd, 4th & 5th, Desiré will present a dance piece entitled Coloured / Chameleon / Dance, which she choreographed in France and Réunion Island in 2012.
Opening the program, the young dancers of the EOAN Group will interpret choreography specially created by Ebrahim Medal (choreographer and artistic director of the centre) with contribution and participation by Desiré Davids.
The project’s objective is to permit a large number of participants to experience living art and performance both by assisting in the performance and participating in exchanges with the creative artists.
The project will include free bus transportation for the students from surrounding “Coloured” townships.
Performances are open to the general public
This project has received support from the National Arts Council of South Africa
A performance of engagement.
THE colouRED CHAMELEON will allow young artists from the EOAN theatre company to work with an internationally recognized choreographer, and will also encourage residents of the “coloured” townships
in artistic performances carrying strong messages encouraging reflection and the expression of their feelings and observations
in exchanges with the artists at each presentation
in recognizing the possibilities engendered not only by the EOAN Group, but also by the “world of art”.
The objective of this funding drive is to assemble the funds for underwriting the costs of partial renting of workshop space, theatre space and technical equipment, providing transportation for students and township residents participating in the presentations, compensating the work of Ebrahim Medell teaching young dancers (without charge to the students), providing snacks and drinks for children participating in the workshops, and producing brochures and announcements to inform the local population.
All of the artisanal items (beaded bracelets, chameleons, tote-bags, etc.) offered to contributors have been created by Associations of “Coloured” women from surrounding townships.
COLOURED/CHAMELEON/DANCE – creation of Desiré Davids
This piece is based on historical facts. In 1985, there was a new wave of “chameleons”; thousands of individuals were “reclassified”. With the simple stroke of an administrative pen, a “Coloured” could be elevated to the highest rank, becoming White, or downgraded to the lowest rank, becoming Black. Some families were completely cut in two, separated by disparate classifications.
This dance piece denounces the objectification of the “Coloureds”, but also insists that they take charge of their own destiny, as Desiré Davids contends, “Today we are free to choose our future. Today we must question, debate, discuss, engage and choose. We must look inward, assume these responsibilities and choices, and consider the impact we can have on the future.”
DESIRE DAVIDS, ENGAGED ARTIST Beyond her talent as a dancer and choreographer which brought her international recognition, it is the personality and commitment of Desiré Davids which command respect and admiration. A graduate of the University of Cape Town School of Dance in 1990, she worked as a soloist with major South African companies and founded in 1997 with fellow South African Boyzie Cekwana, one of the most innovative companies with which they toured Europe, Africa, and the United States for more than ten years. Having received numerous awards including best dancer over the years, Desiré multiplies collaborations and performances in many European countries, Africa and the United States. Alongside her international career, she regularly conducts workshops in South Africa's disadvantaged neighborhoods. THE ColouRED CHAMELEON Project is the next ... and will no doubt see the day thanks to you.