Senzo Shabangu was intrigued by visual art from a young age and always loved to draw. However, growing up in the small village of Driefontein, Mpumalanga – where there were no libraries or museums to showcase or offer information about the arts – it was only when he arrived in Johannesburg seven years ago and began studying printmaking that he was able to meet other artists and discover new mediums and techniques with which to create. Shabangu has been generating his own work ever since and has exhibited in numerous shows.
Understanding the regret of not having had earlier opportunities to develop his artistic skills, Shabangu feels the desire to share what he has learned with the young people from his home village. He wishes to expose them to the things he missed out on, and thus he initiated a non-profit organization called Makhekhe Mshini Youth Facility Management (MMYFM), together with local soccer player, Makhekhe. Knowing how passionate the school children in the area are about soccer and netball, MMYFM aims to bring sport and art together through a series of workshops, such as painting classes as well silkscreen classes where the children learn how to print on t-shirts which are then distributed as prizes to the winning team of the annual soccer and netball tournament. A team trophy, individual medals and certificates, silkscreen t-shirts, as well as the accumulated entry fees, all go to the winning teams. Alongside these Shabangu received a donation of art books from David Krut Bookstores to award as prizes and assist in building libraries at the local schools.
Three teams entered the first MMYFM tournament in 2006, facilitated only by Shabangu and Makhekhe, and it has grown considerably in the last few years. In the 2012 tournament there were sixteen teams involved, assisted by eight MMYFM members, and it was a well-attended and festive event. Shabangu’s dream for 2013 is to invite the matric students from his old school to Johannesburg, to visit David Krut Projects, Arts on Main, Museum Africa and the JAG, so that they can be exposed to the arts. He also hopes to organise more art book donations to schools in the Driefontein area, and to ultimately shift the focus of the project to art through the workshops, as a means of opening up artistic possibilities for the children.