The Masizame Arts and Crafts Centre was started six years ago by Lyn and Barry Beaton in an effort to provide the children of the area with a safe haven in which to express themselves creatively. The children they work with are mostly desperately poor and live in an informal settlement just outside the town of Knysna. Their self-esteem was often very low, and lack of mental stimulation and things to do often led to vandalism and crime.
It is wonderful now to see the pride in their faces when they create a picture or craft work entirely on their own, and learning these simple disciplines has instilled in them a new confidence and hope for the future. There are seventy children, aged between 5 and 19, and we have a junior and a senior group. As well as painting, drawing, papier mâché work and wire work, we also have pottery lessons once a week.
In addition to the arts and crafts lessons there is also the MADaboutART Centre, run by Dr Larry Gurney, which is used for teaching and running courses on HIV/AIDS and other
There is also a small library and a
sewing and knitting group for women,
run by volunteers.
Our hopes for the future are to have
sufficient space and teachers to
introduce drama, singing and
The local children have so much
natural talent, that hopefully their
dreams will be fulfilled.
Masizame is a Xhosa word, meaning 'let's try', and at the end of the day that is all that is required!