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When many people think of South Africa’s history, it is not often that a pretty picture comes to mind. However, while it’s true there are many horrors in South Africa’s past, one must never forget the amazing abundance of rich cultural heritage that also exists here. This heritage is what gives this country such a colourful confluence of variety and complexity and makes it a place that one wants to return to again, and again.  Just ask our communications manager, Lana, who came to the country for a 3 month internship with a Canadian organization, The Townships Project, and is now staying for (at least) two years at the GRCF.

Art, music, song, dance, literature, cuisine – can be found in all the diverse South African communities, each with their own distinct flavour.  As time goes on however, some of these communities are in danger of losing this rich cultural diversity in favour of the globalizing force of a world that is increasingly homogenizing countries and continents.  Of course equality is important and definitely something to strive for, especially in South Africa, but we must also be careful not to lose the differences that make us unique and which add to the wonderful tapestry of South African identity.

It is from just such a passion for preserving South African culture and promoting it to the world that came the idea for the ‘Ke Rona!’ (‘It’s Us!’ in Setswana) project.  Managed by Elliot Ndlovu – a very accomplished singer, musician and performer dedicated to the preservation and promotion of traditional South African performing arts – the Ke Rona project is focused on taking local talent, especially in the form of song and dance troupes, from rural areas in the Bojanala region and putting them on World Cup Fan stages and in cultural evenings in lodges. This project, which is generously supported by the National Lottery, aims to ensure that the benefits from the 2010 World Cup are felt in the poorest rural communities and that these benefits are sustained long after the event has passed.  The project therefore aims to find long term solutions for rural artists who can benefit from participating in the World Cup festivities by gaining in confidence, learning about how the business works and signing deals, and gaining local and international exposure.  At the same time, we can show the world the beauty of South African culture and preserve it for generations to come.  We wish to thank the National Lottery for their generous contribution to this important and timely project and wish our artists the best of success!