Participants in the Healing Massage Class

Stretching and Dance Class

Siphokazi and her class performing "Fanga"

Nomfundo and Siphokazi meeting new dolls and enjoying their rug

Jungle Justice participants arrived to a jubilant welcome, a circle of song and dance led by the local healer, or sangoma (pictured in blue).

Monkeybiz artists brought samples of their latest works-in-progress to share with their American visitors.

Several youth groups performed for the event.

Art Aids Art provided a sit-down meal for the artists, prepared by Ekhaya Catering.

Jungle Justice Trip 2005

On March 26, 2005, Art Aids Art launched Jungle Justice 2005, a weeklong social action trip to Cape Town, South Africa. Twelve participants, including nine from California, provided education and training to the women of Monkeybiz, a collective of over 400 self-sufficient artists from Khayelitsha, Guguletu, Langa and Crossroads townships, and to the preschool at Philani Nutrition Center in Khayelitsha.

The intergenerational group (ages 15-65) included educators and human service professionals in massage, psychiatry, self-defense, yoga, chiropractic and health care, as well as a team of professional and student filmmakers who documented the experience. A matching grant provided by Art Aids Art and New York Film Academy provided student film training.

Art Aids Art works closely with the artists of Monkeybiz, who earn sustainable income through the sale of their contemporary bead creations. The culminating event concluding Jungle Justice was the christening of The Boat, a community art studio in Khayelitsha Township donated to Monkeybiz in 2003 by Art Aids Art.

Jungle Justice Journals

Journal #1: Our 2005 Jungle Justice Trip to Cape Town, South Africa has yielded tremendous results. Below we present you with the first highlights from the week (March 28-April 1).

Projects at the Wellness Clinic: Art Aids Art's recent Monkeybiz beadwork exhibits in the U.S. raised funds for the collective's Wellness Clinic, a center providing nutrition, counseling and yoga classes to women impacted by HIV/AIDS. Jungle Justice volunteers led several workshops at the Wellness clinic, including Meditation and Kundalini Yoga, Stretching and Dance, Self-Defense and Healing Massage.

The Wellness Clinic currently operates in a borrowed space that can no longer accommodate the number of women in need. Monkeybiz is working toward securing a larger permanent location which can be used for a wider range of services. Art Aids Art plans to play a significant role in the development of the new clinic. Stay tuned for details on how you can participate!

Journal #2: Welcome to the second installment of highlights from our Jungle Justice trip to Cape Town, South Africa. In addition to Monkeybiz, Art Aids Art has developed a long term relationship with the Philani Preschool in Khayelitsha Township.

We scheduled two workshops with Philani teachers and their classes: a literature session using the classic "Tar Beach" by Faith Ringgold, and a movement and song session based on the Nigerian welcoming song "Fanga" (see photo). Each workshop was extended due to the enthusiastic response, and we are providing follow-up instructional materials to the teachers.

In response to Art Aids Arts call for "Babies and Books", supporters have contributed hundreds of black dolls and multicultural childrens books during the past year. The Jungle Justice trip provided us with the long-awaited opportunity to deliver these donations in person. Siphokazi and Nomfundo were pleased to receive these educational materials (including their first black dolls!), along with a new rug for their group gathering area (see photo). Thank you to everyone who contributed to our ongoing collection. We will be making another shipment in the coming year, so keep those donations coming!

Journal #3: Welcome to the final installment of our Jungle Justice highlights. The week of projects culminated with a huge celebration at The Boat, purchased with proceeds from Art Aids Art's first sale of Monkeybiz dolls in 2003. The Boat serves as a safe space where Monkeybiz artists make bead art and rubber jewelry made from recycled tires.

The celebration marked the first time that members of Art Aids Art and Monkeybiz could come together to acknowledge 2 years of fruitful collaboration. African American artist Beverly Heath, the host of the first Art Aids Art doll sale in California, was present as a guest of honor.

After 2 hours of high-energy celebrating, Monkeybiz artists and their families were invited to relax under the canopy, where members of Art Aids Art and the Monkeybiz administration served them a catered meal. Plans were initially made for 100 guests, but somehow the food stretched to serve an additional 150 celebrants. The event created an intense feeling of community, and plans are underway to make it an annual gathering.

Stay tuned for updates on future projects, including:
  • development of Monkeybiz Township Tours and a restaurant and B&B at The Boat,
  • and news on a permanent site for Monkeybiz Wellness Clinic

Art Aids Art promotes education and sustainable economic development through the arts.
We support cross-cultural exchanges between Americans and South Africans.

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