An African Journey - 1996

Written and directed by Sheela Langberg with the assistance of staff and students from Calwall High School.


Any time you work with creative people you are reminded that despite all your plans the finished product rarely resembles your original expectations. I am happy to say, however, that regardless of several changes in direction and focus this project has retained its unity of purpose and reflects the original vision of its initiators

With the intention of enhancing appreciation of multiculturalism in Australia and emphasising the particular difficulties faced by African Australians. The Ghana Educational Assistance forums sought and received funding from the office of multicultural affairs in the then department of immigration and ethnic affairs.

The plan was to conduct workshops in traditional African art forms- storytelling, music and dance - for groups of Young Australians. But thanks to the enthusiasm and creativity of the Calwell High School Drama program the project has gone even further.

After an extremely demanding few months working with two African professional performers the year 10 Drama class has developed a performance piece dealing with the passage of life of a young African girl. Set in an African village this theatre of the body (incorporating singing, dancing and drumming) explores issues of universal relevance. In this way, with all the characters played by young Australian's, it highlights the similarity of life issues despite the variances in cultural experiences.

With in-school tours of 'Pendo - an African Journey' providing the opportunity for other young Australian's to experience an African life and discuss that life as well as the processes involved have remained true to the original vision.

Gabriel Pillay

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  APAI - ABN 49 435 575 428
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