What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think about the circus? A big top, clowns, a ring master?

Zip Zap is more than just an act! Zip Zap uses the circus arts as an educational tool: To learn physical skill such as coordination, balance, acrobatics, strength, and flexibility.
But also life skills and important values like teamwork, family values, resilience, perseverance and dedication. But most importantly a tool for social transformation, social cohesion, and unity. And a fun tool too!

Zip Zap is a social and professional circus founded in 1992. Through circus arts Zip Zap inspires and empowers young people from all walks of life to pursue their destinies.

Zip Zap runs 6 Outreach and 4 Youth Programmes:

The Khula Nathi (meaning “Grow with us”) programme, Zip Zap’s Early Childhood Development (ECD) school-readiness support programme, focuses on improving balance, hand-eye coordination and agility, developing gross motor skills and listening skills and following instructions, and growing self-confidence among the participants.

The 2nd Chance programme, a once-off intervention for participants, exposes participants to hands-on workshops comprising games, circus techniques and activities, geared towards teaching teamwork and instilling discipline in a fun environment.

The Jumpstreet programme, in partnership with SOS Children’s Village, aims to expose youth from unstable domestic, socio-economic environments to the multiple benefits of the circus and performing arts, through the medium of circus workshops.

The Siyazama (“we are trying”) programme, was established to complement SOS Children’s Villages existing Family Strengthening Programme (FSP) to provide participants with opportunities to overcome trauma and develop the skills to thrive.

The Hood programme engages children from the Salt River neighbourhood and provides them with an opportunity to develop physical skills, an improved sense of self-esteem and self-confidence, and to understand the value of friendship, creating a sense of kinship and belonging.

The Ubuntu programme, offered at the Khayelitsha Community Health Centre, aims to offer support to the children living with HIV attending their clinic visit in a creative, fun and novel way.


Beginners, Zip Zap’s recreational programme, introduces 7-12 years old children to the world of circus, and encourages the initiation to basic circus skills.

The Simunye (“we are one”) programme, strives to bring children from all backgrounds together and teaches participants to collaborate on creating acts, and in the process, they learn to strive towards collective goals.

The Zappers programme identifies and nurtures young people aged 10 to 18 years who display commitment and potential within other Zip Zap programmes, and provides them with intensive training, and performance opportunities.

The Dare2Dream (D2D) programme is Zip Zap’s flagship vocational full time training programme offering youth an alternative to mainstream, often inaccessible, educational opportunities through circus and performing arts. By using circus arts as a practical medium, participants learn soft skills, social skills, technical skills, artistic development, circus techniques, and teaching skills.

All Zip Zap programmes are offered free of charge to participants, with financial and material support coming from individuals, organisation, corporations, and foundations.

Laurence Esteve, Co-founder and CEO of Zip Zap Circus commented, “In a circus you cherish differences, the show is so much more exciting with diversity – what a lesson for our Rainbow Nation! Remember that the lessons learnt at the circus will last long after lessons from textbooks are forgotten.

Zip Zap is indeed more than a circus; it is a Circus Re-Imagined!

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