30 June, 2012

Statues make quick buck Fest

By Sphelele Ngubane

While other children enjoy hot soup under warm blankets in their comfortable homes during this winter, Aphelele Duda (12) and Tony Ntikho (13) from Hlalani township head to town every morning to showcase their talent on the streets during the National Arts Festival.
They stand on different spots in the hope that a passer-by will spare a few coins into their cup, allowing them to momentarily twist and warp into different comical poses. Their art is simple: they remain statues until the clink of coin in cup allows them to briefly come alive.
Although they are not officially registered to take part in the annually hosted festival, these street performers richly benefit as they are estimated to take home a around R150 every day.  Some of the boys come to town for  statue as they call it, also as a means to avoid chores at home. 
“Mom does not mind me coming to town for statue,” says Aphelele, “[because] the money I make here I take it home.”

Aphelele and Tony said it takes them about two hours to get to town from home.  They leave at around 5 in the morning, walk to town just as the sun rises and start to secure potential donors spots.  Ifutheni, the white powder they put on their faces, is from a type of rock they dig up every morning on their way to town. The boys also take old clothes from their sisters and wear them to add to their creative look.

“I took the clothes from home, they are no longer used and they are helpful to me when the festival comes,” said Aphelele.

The two attend Wisile Primary School and only do statue during the Festival, and are back in class once schools reopen. Both of them aspire to be police officers after completing their
secondary education and with their persistence and dedication, they stand a good chance.

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