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Oluyole, Mhlophe share street kids’ rehabilitation stories on African Voices

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African Voices

This week’s African Voices Changemakers sponsored by Globacom will feature two stars deploying arts for development by using their passions in choreography, dance, and story to rehabilitate street kids.

The first guest, 27-year-old Seyi Oluyole, is a choreographer, film director, dancer and actor. She is a graduate of English and Literary Studies from Covenant University, Ota while the second guest, Gcina Mhlophe, her counterpart in dance and storytelling, is a South African.

The duo is currently empowering children through their chosen arts. Oluyole established a non-governmental organisation, The Dream Nurture Foundation, to cater for despondent street kids and poor young adults whose hearts are crying to be nurtured. She also provides educational opportunities for them through the NGO. Similarly, her dance academy, Dream Catchers, uses dance as a major tool in getting indigent children back to school in line with her belief that “every child deserves to succeed irrespective of their background”.

In view of this, she has successfully engaged such children in activities ranging from dance to drama and sports, while performing screenwriting for topnotch television series including, Tinsel, Hustle, and Gbera, a short film which she directed. Her commitment to the cause of children has attracted the attention of world music star, Rihanna, who recently tipped Oluyole’s mentees for stardom.

60-year-old Nokugcina Elsie Mhlophe is a dancer, actress, storyteller, poet, playwright, director and author. To her, storytelling is a means of recounting the tales of subjugation during the apartheid years and the gains of freedom, which the Rainbow Nation currently enjoys.

Born in KwaZulu Natal, Mhlophe started her working life as a domestic servant, progressed to a newsreader at the Press Trust and BBC Radio, and subsequently became a writer for Learn and Teach, a magazine for newly literate post-apartheid South Africans. She remains one of the few female storytellers in the country and has employed her charismatic performances in four languages including English, Afrikaans, Zulu and Xhosa as a vehicle for encouraging South African children not only to read but also to imbibe the values espoused by her stories.

Mhlophe has performed in theatres in Soweto and London. A good number of her works have been translated into German, French, Italian, Swahili, and Japanese. She has won the Obie Award for Performance as well as the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award and continues to traverse Africa and other parts of the globe, giving storytelling workshops on folklore, historical information, current affairs, songs, and idioms.

Changemakers will be broadcast today at 5.00 a.m., 9.30 a.m. and 8.30 p.m. with more repeats tomorrow and Tuesday at 5.30 a.m. and 6.30 p.m. respectively.


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