By: Zakiya Atkinson
The Sisanda FunDaytion gave me just the experience I was looking for. As an artist, educator, and writer, I was seeking an opportunity to expand my mission of arts outreach and social development for underserved youth. I had traveled to Uganda while in grad school and was affected and inspired by the experience of immersing into a new culture and making a difference. 4 years later
I opted to travel to Cape Town, South Africa and it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
The Western Cape was perfect for my interests. It was full of culture, diversity, historical prominence, and need. Sisanda FunDaytion made me feel very welcome and they gave me just the opportunities I was looking for, to lend and further develop my skills. I honestly felt like a part of their team. They were very open and welcoming of my ideas and perspectives. I also learned a great deal from them on how to expand my mission back home.
Interning with Sisanda allowed me to travel throughout various areas and encounter the wealth and disparity of the Western Cape. This allowed for an authentic perspective of the political and historical effects on the culture. I was given the opportunity to interview locals, volunteers, and employees of thriving corporations. Through Sisanda FunDaytion I was able to implement a dance/ theatre workshop for teens whose communities had been affected by HIV, in addition to serving as a volunteer for children in various townships. Working with these young people was the highlight of my stay and the learning was reciprocal. The growth and awakening of the youth’s talent and skills from this encounter was evident; yet even greater was the realization that they could achieve success through confidence, commitment, discipline, and passion.
During my stay I still managed to do lots of sightseeing, soak up the arts scene, and attend a few performances. I even produced a showcase myself with the youth I’d been working with. My connections and friendships I’m sure will last a lifetime. I’m already planning and anticipating my next trip back.