Picking up the baton to pay it forward. A story of influence.

Written by: Anele Gcwabe

When IT student and photographer, Snamandla Mgobozi, couldn’t find support at home for his interest in the creative arts, he turned to Imbumba Arts Movement. This is an NGO that was started by two young people, Thamsanqa Zwane and Simphiwe Dlamini, in an attempt to get the youth of Inanda off the streets, away from drugs, and focused on to something more constructive.

Imbumba Arts Movement is an NGO based in Inanda- a township in eastern Kwazulu-Natal just 21km North of Durban CBD. This NGO focuses on art, it encourages reading and writing among young people between the ages of 11- 35 years of age. Their primary function is the facilitation of art for learners in primary and high school. They focus on theater plays, poetry sessions and craft- such as making belts and leather bags to generate income for the young people who are involved in this initiative. They have a reading and writing club they call Imvuselelo Reading and Writing Club, where young people are encouraged to take up reading as a hobby.

2014 Activator, Snamandla Mgobozi, found a home in Imbumba Arts Movement in 2012, when he found himself in need of support for his passion and interest in the creative arts. He has been part of Imbumba ever since. He did not just take advantage of the benefits that came with being a member of this group, he helped it reach more success and improvement than before. I call it picking up the baton, and running with it. When Mgobozi joined the movement, it was not formally registered. He was part of the team that led the registration process in 2014. In 2018, he managed to help the movement to form a solid partnership with the department of Arts and Culture, which saw the growth of the crafting of belts and leather bags. This was a sure way to impart skills on the youth of Inanda, so that they can generate an income. This was also a way to make sure that the NGO would remain self-sustaining.

Imbumba Arts Movement has also partnered with community radio station, Inanda FM. They have a standing one hour slot where they recite poetry and reach out to other young people to come and join their movement.

The impact of this movement on the youth of Inanda Township is visible. Some of the beneficiaries have made it to the big screen. One of them, Sbonelo Chizane, was once part of the cast in local soapie, Muvhango. Some of the beneficiaries are given the confidence to further their studies in the creative arts, Thandeka Mngadi is one such beneficiary. Although the impact is visible, the Imbumba Arts Movement still faces a challenge when it comes to securing meeting and rehearsal space. The community of Inanda doesn’t have a lot of space available to them as they do not have funds to rent out the spaces that could be available. Another big challenge is the lack of understanding that their parents have for the creative arts. They, sometimes stop their children from attending rehearsals. There are, however, areas that interest parents and local businesses. Their local fundraiser to secure school uniforms for less advantaged kids in their community received a lot of support.

Although Mgobozi did not start Imbumba Arts Movement, he has made sure that it remains the home that he found when he needed support. This is his way of paying it forward, his way of driving change in his community, his way of assisting in keeping the streets of Inanda drug free. This is his story of influence.

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