Concerts celebrate a year of learning enthusiastically

The Tsogo Sun Arts Academy is closing its third year of successful growth among more than 500 young learners in 12 different schools with community concerts in both Diepsloot and Mayfair, where the youngsters will have the opportunity to show off their hard work.

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The community concerts are open to friends and family and other interested members of the local community to showcase some of the best learnings the youngsters have gained over the year. Also attending the concerts are respected industry professionals who adjudicate the show and determine which performers will be selected to go on to perform at the final concert at the Lyric Theatre in Gold Reef City in October. This final concert concludes with an awards ceremony in four categories, including the top high school, the top primary school, the best individual performers, the most enthusiastic educator and the best performing facilitator, as well as recognising academic achievement.

“We are extremely proud of all the hard work put in throughout the year and the commitment that these youngsters have shown to the programme, as well as the dedicated educators who have been involved not only this year, but since the programme started,” says Shanda Paine, Group CSI Manager for Tsogo Sun.

The year-long Tsogo Sun Arts Academy curriculum, designed and implemented together with Minimax Productions, which has been providing young South Africans with a platform to express themselves through the performing arts for more than 12 years, is an all-encompassing programme that uses the arts as the foundation for opportunities for growth and learning for the children in both primary and high schools. It covers the basics of  dance, poetry, storytelling and voice projection, as well as life-skills lessons intertwined into their arts lessons,  with the purpose of empowering the youngsters to make sound choices throughout their lives. This is particularly evident in the leadership and mentorship roles that have come to the fore for some of the young participants, who have not been comfortable to do so in other environments.

There are a number of educators in the schools and external facilitators involved in delivering the Arts Programme in the Mayfair and Diepsloot communities, whose input and participation is vital to the success of the programme. These educators and facilitators themselves are noticing that the kids are starting to take the lead – with different kids accepting the leadership role in different situations. “For instance, if one child picks up the dance routine quicker than the others, they will teach the others.  Educators at the schools are also noticing that these leadership skills are filtering through to other areas of school life and having a positive impact overall.”

Based on the comments received at a recent collaboration with local singer, songwriter and producer Loyiso Bala, who visited Diepsloot at the invitation of Tsogo Sun to share his insights, experiences and advice with the children enrolled in the Arts Academy, it’s clear that the children are already benefiting from the holistic approach of the Arts Academy programme and that their potential is slowly being unleashed through the programme. Some of the comments heard from the children included:

  • “I have learned about respect, caring for others and helping them when they need my help”
  • “I have learned to help my peers when they need it.”
  • “I give them [my family] respect and they respect me back. They teach me things and I teach them.”

A highlight on the programme for some of the Tsogo Sun Arts Academy All Stars youngsters this year was a workshop with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, which performed 13 shows at the Teatro in early September. “The Alvin Ailey dance group is one of the world’s most popular global dance companies – and it was a phenomenal once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for our youngsters to interact with and learn from these world class dancers,” says Paine. She adds that the All Stars are highly motivated, hard-working and enthusiastic young performers who are already making their mark on the South African arts world. “It has been another great year for our Arts Academy youngsters, many of whom will have had life-changing experiences over the course of the year. This concert gives them an opportunity to shine in front of their peers as well as their family members – and it is always a joyous explosion of enthusiastic song and dance ,” comments  Paine.

She adds that Tsogo Sun’s focus on entertainment and theatre makes the running of the Arts Academy for young people a natural fit for the group. “The Academy is allowing us to expose young learners to the world of arts – both as participants on stage and audience members developing a stronger appreciation for the arts – and to identify the most talented young artists early on and nurture their talent – while at the same time giving them sound life skills training for future success. It’s a privilege for us and an absolute joy to witness their excitement when they are on the stage.”

About Tsogo Sun

Tsogo Sun is the leading hotels, gaming and entertainment company in South Africa, providing a variety of hospitality and exciting entertainment and leisure experiences. Combining an established heritage with a professional and energised approach, the group proudly encompasses 14 casinos and over 90 hotels in South Africa, Africa, and the Seychelles.

The company’s hospitality interests offer a wide distribution of hotels in Africa, providing world-class accommodation across all markets, including elegant, individually branded luxury hotels and well-known trusted market leaders in the premier through budget segments, including Southern Sun Hotels, Garden Court, SunSquare, StayEasy and SUN1 hotels.

The exciting urban and resort casino portfolio includes the most popular entertainment destinations, strategically located throughout South Africa. In the Gauteng province, Tsogo Sun owns the group’s flagship property, Montecasino in Fourways, which features, amongst other attractions, the award-winning Teatro; Gold Reef City Casino and Theme Park in Southern Johannesburg; and Silverstar Casino to the West in Krugersdorp. Additional properties are owned and operated in the Western Cape, Eastern Cape, Free State, Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal, including the jewel on Durban’s Golden Mile, Suncoast Casino, Hotels and Entertainment.

Tsogo Sun Citizenship is the group’s corporate citizenship strategy which encompasses three areas of focus. This includes Corporate Social Investment, whereby the group promotes the development of learners through three academies which offer holistic, full-year programmes centred around sport, art and education; Entrepreneur Development which focuses on skills-based entrepreneurial development through its Tsogo Sun Book a Guesthouse and Supplier Development programmes; and Environmental Education, committed to initiatives that reduce the impact the business has on the environment.

Tsogo Sun (“TSH”) is listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange.  The key shareholders of Tsogo Sun are Hosken Consolidated Investments Limited (“HCI”), a JSE listed investment holding company.

Tsogo Sun Gaming supports the National Responsible Gambling Programme. Winners know when to stop.  Only persons over the age of 18 are permitted to gamble. National Problem Gambling counselling toll-free helpline: 0800 006 008.

For more information go to tsogosun.com, follow us on Twitter @TsogoSun or like us on Facebook /TsogoSun

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