San Francisco Christian Center presents I-Themba

By
February 26, 2004

Mills College Weekly

Audiences responded excitedly to a celebration of black History
Month held at Faith Presbyterian Church on Feb. 19. The celebration
was comprised of a lively and energetic performance by a Christian
missionary dance and drama troupe from South Africa currently
touring through California. The troupe is named “I-Themba” and
consists of 6 youths ranging in age from 19 to 26 trying to bring
the message of ‘hope’ to communities throughout the world.

The performance consisted of various skits demonstrating issues
prevalent in South African communities, including the damage left
by apartheid and the damage being caused by AIDS. Though the
subject matter is of a serious nature, the performance itself was
imaginative and spirited. The youth alternated between song, dance
and drama, throughout the hour-long performance. The show was
mostly based on the narration of personal experience and was
powerful due to the personal connection the members have to the
content.

Despite their desire to inform the world of the problems
affecting their community, the troupe’s primary objective is to
raise money for homeless children in South Africa. They take in
children 5 years and older, and give them food and a place to
stay.

“I-Themba was basically started to raise funds for street
children in South Africa,” said the group leader Doris Cooper. “It
was formed to reach out to young people because it’s also a show
about our lives.”

“I joined because I have a passion for dance, the lord and
children,” said dancer Lizette Noble, a 20-year old from South
Africa. “And the money we raise goes to children.”

Messages the dance troupe conveyed resonated with the members of
the audience because of the similarities between the issues
affecting South Africans and problems faced by African-Americans
today.

“Issues of racial reconciliation are important. Addressing these
issues has been an important part of my ministry since 1992 after
the Rodney King incident. The work towards racial reconciliation
has to be intentional. AIDS is a major issue in our home as well as
in Africa. This is relevant to our church, our ministry, our
streets and our cities.” Said the Pastor of Faith Presbyterian
Church.

Other audience members saw a deeper connection between the
plights of black and colored South Africans and of
African-Americans.

“It doesn’t matter whether you’re black in America or black in
South Africa, you still get shafted,” said junior Riana Shaw. “I
hope that the ten years since apartheid ended aren’t going to be
like the seven years of reconstruction in the south, where a moment
of hope led to the deepest despair of a group of people.”

I-Themba will perform on Sunday Feb. 29 at the San Francisco
Christian Center, and you can hear their musical performance at 8
a.m. on KissFM that same day.


San Francisco Christian Center presents I-Themba was published on February 26, 2004 in Arts & Entertainment

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