Monkeybiz members assemble persona dolls in Khayelitsha

Pretty and her doll, with cell phone!

Song and dance at the party

Cheering the performers

Jungle Justice Trip 2006

On April 2, Art Aids Art launched Jungle Justice 2006, its latest weeklong social action trip to Cape Town, South Africa. Eight participants, including students from the University of California at Santa Barbara, UC Santa Cruz and Pomona College, provided education and training at the Monkeybiz Wellness Clinic.

Jungle Justice Journals

Journal #1: Greetings from Cape Town! Jungle Justice 2006 has hit the ground running.

As part of a major documentation project collecting the stories of township artists, Jungle Justice participants led three Persona Doll Documentation workshops at The Boat in Khayelitsha and at the Monkeybiz Wellness Clinic in Cape Town. Fifteen to twenty-five women gathered each day to create their own handmade dolls. By providing unfamiliar materials (not beads), we hoped to stimulate experimentation that would lead to new discoveries.

After completing their handwork, the women shared the stories of their dolls, some in English and some in Xhosa with English translation. For most, it was clearly a new experience to have a public platform for creative storytelling. South Africa surely can benefit from hearing the voices of its women as it continues to blossom as a democracy. Stories were documented both in writing and on videotape. Publication is planned in the future.

Journal #2:In 2003, Art Aids Art began its collaboration with Monkeybiz Bead Project by holding a beadwork sale in California, and using the proceeds to purchase an art workspace in Khayelitsha Township named The Boat.

Last year Art Aids Art held a celebration in Khayelitsha (pronounced ka-ye-LEET-sha) to formally christen The Boat. The event has evolved into an annual gathering honoring the courage and creativity of Monkeybiz artists, and reinforcing the importance of a growing community of support in the neighborhood surrounding The Boat.

This year's festivities featured an intergenerational array celebrants (approximately 400) representing everyone from newborns to great-grandmothers. After the opening circle led by elder women, several dance and choral performances entertained the audience, who were then served a sit-down meal prepared by local Ekhaya catering and served by Jungle Justice participants and Monkeybiz staff. An hour of dancing to the latest South African hits followed.

There was a palpable feeling of Ubuntu; meaning "I am human because I belong" -- throughout the celebration. It's what brought Art Aids Art here, and, along with your support, what will carry the work (and play) into the future.

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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