Youth Programme Simunye
Simunye (“we are one”) formed in 1992 and is the heart of Zip Zap’s circus school, bringing children from outreach and youth streams together to learn, to create, and to work towards common goals such as creating and performing acts.
The programme strives to instill the core values of Zip Zap through social cohesion, discipline and teamwork. With a more focused approach to learning and developing circus skills, and increased physical demands, participants commit to two weekly sessions, reaping the benefits from investing more time and training. Simunye is also the reservoir for potential candidates for Dare2Dream, Zip Zap’s full-time vocational training programme.
A safe training space in a fit-for-purpose facility enabled participants in the Simunye programme to play, learn, train, collaborate and create together, contributing to overall improvements in teamwork and positive pro-social behaviours among the majority of participants. Zip Zap embraces diversity, and since participants come from varied social backgrounds they were encouraged to learn from and about each other.
Zip Zap values – Accountability, Family, Honesty, Joy, Respect – are at the very heart of all we do, and these reinforced the importance of positive behaviours and healthy relationships among all the children within the group. During 2022, twice-weekly sessions ensured that the 34 participants were fully engaged in each of the 43 training sessions, and allowed them to focus on their preferred disciplines and invest time into developing their abilities in these areas. The progamme demands physical fitness, perseverance and creativity, and allowed the children to explore artistically. Physical assessments helped instructors to assess the progress and capabilities of the participants, and also informed effective programme content to meet programme objectives.
As the children grew in abilities, there were corresponding improvements in levels of confidence and enthusiasm among most of the participants, and this is apparent from the children’s excitement in preparing for Zip Zap’s annual year-end Programmes Show & Tell event, in which they confidently demonstrated their showmanship and skills learned throughout the year. This provided a glimpse of the opportunities available within the circus- and performing arts for participants to consider; for example, performing, technical skills, costuming and coaching.
The programme also provides opportunities for budding leaders to emerge and act as role models for less experienced members within the group.
Accepted into Zappers
A Shining Star
Amogelang Hlitana was the recipient of the 2022 Fellowship Award in the Simunye programme, in recognition of being a shining example of the Zip Zap values! She is 12 years old and a Grade 6 learner at Vukukhanye Public Primary School in Gugulethu, Cape Town.
Amogelang joined Zip Zap’s Beginners programme in 2019, at the age of just 8 years old. All her hard work and commitment was rewarded when she was selected to progress to the Simunye programme in 2022. She has a keen interest in aerial disciplines, having tried the scarf, lyra and trapeze, with the lyra being her favourite. Her best memory is her performance at Show & Tell in 2021, which was her first on-stage performance. She followed this up with her first solo lyra act at Show & Tell 2022.
Amogelang is a humanitarian at heart: if she could change something in the world, she would “change the inequality of people so everyone is on the same level or, if not, the poor ones be in on a better level”.