Community Engagement


The Langeberg Youth Arts Project

In July 2012, The Mothertongue Project commenced with The Langeberg Youth Arts Project, an Arts, Leadership, and Entrepreneurship Programme. The Programme provided Participatory Theatre Training, which is integrated with a Leadership Development Training as well as an Entrepreneurial Skills Training to unemployed youth between the ages of 18 and 30. The project addressed the need, as expressed by the youth of the region, for the creation of dialogue groups for young men and women, and the imparting of leadership development through life skills, communication training, and self-management skills.

Langeberg Youth Theatre Company

In 2017 the project successfully established a youth theatre company comprising young people whose capacities were developed. Five young people were employed full-time as Mothertongue youth company members. The young people implement their performance, participatory theatre facilitation, theatre-making, leadership, and entrepreneurial skills through various creative and administrative work The Mothertongue Langeberg Youth Arts Project generated. The participants received mentoring and coaching, thus ensuring the continuity of learning. Working with skilled facilitators and sector professionals during the research and devising process, the interns rolled out awareness-raising performances around issues such as TB, gender violence, HIV/AIDS, substance abuse and unemployment to various schools and community-based groups in the region. They received ongoing project literacy and management skills training, which assisted with running their youth drama groups in their respective areas.


We are able to replicate these programmes with a range of organisations and groups. The Mothertongue Project will provide a unique, tailor-made programme on request, specifically for your organisation's needs.

RITE OF BEING (2005 - 2006)

Rite of Being was a two year project supported by HIVOS. It was implemented in partnership with Kenyan based organization KEFEADO and was concluded in 2006. Rite of Being, through participatory theatre workshops explored the existing rituals of celebrating young women and womanhood in the inner city township of Mannenberg. The project looked at how these practices which often tend to be negative such as drug abuse, teenage pregnancies and early marriage contribute to disempowering young women and the concomitant constructions of femininity that are developed. The sister project in Kenya addressed FGM (Female Genital Mutilation) as a disempowering and invasive rite of passage. Both of these processes are tied together by a theatre based methodology that trains survivors or beneficiaries in a body of techniques that result in open ended performances in which they engage community members in identifying solutions to the problems presented.

LAPHUM’ILANGA (2006 - 2007)

Laphum’ílanga was an arts based project located in the largest black township in Cape Town, and explored the intersections between violence against women and HIV/AIDS. It was piloted in 2006. The project was supported by UNIFEM. Mothertongue, in partnership with UNIFEM, was invited to participate in the XVI International Conference on HIV/AIDS in Toronto, where we presented this project. Phase 2 of this project in 2007 introduced HIV care workers to basic dramatherapy principles and was supported by Action Aid.

BADILISHA (2005 – 2006)

With support from the Arts and Culture Department at the City of Cape Town, we ran weekly drama sessions at Bonne Esperance shelter for refugee women and children in Phillipi Cape Town looking at questions of integration and xenophobia In South Africa. This was a six month programme.

SOLD INSIDE (2009 - 2010)

The Mothertongue Project collaborated with the International Organization for Migration on an awareness raising project around the issue of human trafficking (2009-2010). The project trained 80 participants based in four South African Provinces (Eastern Cape, Mpumalanga, Limpopo, and kwaZula Natal) in participatory theatre methods. These participants in turn created and performed over 20 plays through 71 outreach performances and reached audiences numbering 13000. The IOM received funding from the Bureau for Population, Refugees, and Migration: United States of America Department of State.


In collaboration with one of our ongoing partners SWEAT (Sex Workers Education and Advocacy Taskforce) we facilitated the use of visual arts as a container for the extraction of stories. The intervention formed part of SWEAT’s ongoing Read and Write project to assist participants in developing a booklet of stories to be used as an advocacy tool. Mothertongue interns and Programmes Director were involved in this project as part of our commitment to their ongoing development as leaders in the field of arts for social transformation. 


Continuing our previous work utilising interdisciplinary arts methodologies as a vehicle for the development of performed stories, Mothertongue further engaged key project members from Gender DynamiX, alongside one of our interns, in developing a work outlining their stories as advocates from the LGBTI community.