Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Capoeira and education, by Kat Carpenter: The experience of a volunteer at the Keiskamma Trust

During September to December 2009, Kat Carpenter, a member of Aboliçao Oxford Capoeira went to Hamburg to work with the Keiskamma Trust and spend time with the capoeira group there.

Msindisi Mva, the groups teacher had recently returned from Cape Town. Kat and Msindisi worked together to get classes re-structured.

Classes were set up at the primary school on 3 afternoons a week, and 3 morning classes were set up for adult beginners, the regular 4:30pm to 6pm training continued daily. The primary school classes are going really well, parents are happy that their children can train after school so they do not arrive home too late. The morning classes are a good opportunity for people with less confidence around the agile young people to learn the basic moves of capoeira.

Kat also worked with Keiskamma trust looking at child development, providing training to local health and education workers and setting up resources and an assessment kit, also assisting in the set-up of a play room. It was a challenge to split time between the two areas of work!

From the 4th to the 9th of December, Elton Jones another member of Aboliçao Oxford, joined the group for a few days just in time for the end of year party, which the group funded themselves with money they earnt at a performance earlier in the year.

To get the group thinking about the positive benefits of capoeira a small art workshop was carried out at the party. Each member was asked what do you enjoy about capoeira, how does it affect your life, what opportunities does it give you, how does it make you feel, thinking about life before you started capoeira and now, how is it different? The group worked in 2’s and 3’s to write down 3 things, everyone present took part. They then enjoyed putting hand prints in a circle on a piece of cloth to represent a roda. Phrases such as “protection, makes me feel at home, education, energy, inspiration, helps me to do the right things, strength, love, communication” were gathered.

All the words and phrases were written in the middle of the ‘roda’ . It now hangs in the capoeira training hall. The group to get this image printed onto T-shirts, along with their own Abolicao Hamburg logo which is currently being designed. The aim would be for each member to have a T-shirt that belongs to the group and them to be able to sell these to members of Abolicao in Oxford and London and visitors to the Keiskamma Project as a business opportunity for the group as they are very keen to increase their independence financially.

A day of workshops was also held, taught by Elton, an angola workshop, samba, maculele, music and ending in a roda. The group really enjoyed the opportunity to learn new moves and spend the day enjoying all aspects of capoeira, they all worked hard and joined in well.
The group have all missed seeing contra-mestre Luis Negao this year so being able to do these workshops was a good end of year activity to bring the group together.

And lastly, along with the Keiskamma Art Project, a small group went to visit a local Eco-community called Khuladhamma to do a performanace. They did a performance roda and ran a short workshop. The community are keen to get capoeira going so it is hoped more workshops an be arranged in the future which the hamburg group can run.

“ I am very sad to be leaving the group here, I really enjoyed the opportunity I have had to meet the group and get to know them and their day to day lifes. Training here is hard, to keep motivated every week when there is not often a Mestre or even Professor, but the group do it with energy and play very very good capoeira. I think I have learnt more from them than they learnt fom me! I’m happy to be leaving with some projects, ie. T-shirt making and links with the eco-community on the go as it gives good plans for the new year. I look forward to being able to visit the group again. I hope that people in the uk can see how hard to group are working to increase their indenpendence and if they can give anyhthing to help with setting up their plans, publicity costs and transport it would be such a help. Axe!”

Kat Carpenter, 11.12.2009