Tuesday 24 December 2013

ARROWSA wishes for the festive season and a Peaceful New Year!

The above card was created by Darnell Fortune, ARROWSA  Bechet INDRA based on the logo designed by Bryce Louw.
The above collage was created by Darnell Fortune, ARROWSA Bechet INDRA.

Sunday 15 December 2013


Dear INDRA South Africa, (ARROW SA)


On Friday 6th December, following the passing of Nelson Mandela, the Bolton UK INDRA group commemorated this great man and each member of the group has written a message to you to express their feelings during this sad time and to offer support from across the world. We know this must be an extremely sad time in your country but we wanted to celebrate Nelson and to share the impact he has had and the inspiration he has given.\

After the unfortunate death of worldwide hero Nelson ‘Madiba’ Mandela, we would like to share our condolences as we believe that he was truly a kind, selfless and giving person and that the world will be a sadder place for his passing away. As a group we tried to find a way to justly describe Mabida and his enlightened vision to live by. We believe that he is likened to a family figure with a heart big enough to fit the world. As Mabida said “no one is born hating” and if more people believed and understood this, the world would be a much more beautiful place. With this in mind, I say thank you to the legacy of Mr Mandela.


It was really interesting to learn about Nelson Mandela. The man was graceful and forgiving. He never gave in to the cruel soul crushing world around him. His mind was never broken, never straying from his rightful true path. If someone can forgive all the hate, all the cruelty and prejudice aimed towards him and many others, then hope will never be lost. He will be in our minds and hearts forever.


Nelson Mandela was a truly inspirational man, to get straight to the point. He stood up for what was right, and that’s awesome and so brave. I probably wouldn’t have been able to do that, but I’m so glad Nelson Mandela did, because he changed the world for the better – and doesn’t everyone wish to do that one day? He was a great role model to us all and I hope you’re coping okay with his tragic loss. But remember don’t dwell on the pain of loss but remember what he did for us.


We thought the passing of Nelson Mandela would be an important time to make contact. How does it feel in South Africa at the moment? How has it affected the whole of South Africa and how does it feel personally? Have you been talking about it in your INDRA sessions? What else do you discuss? I don’t personally know Nelson Mandela but what I do know is that he is a significant role model to many people around the world and we love him.


After hearing about Nelson Mandela’s tragic death, our INDRA group had a session on his life and what he did for our country. I personally think he was wonderful, brave and determined man who did so much for South Africa. I hope you’re all okay. x


Sorry for the loss of Nelson Mandela, he was a truly inspiration man and a real life hero. He taught us a lot about resilience and he persevered to bring peace to the world until he passed away. His legacy will live on for eternity and we are grateful. Children will look up to him as a father figure and a hero. I am honoured to have visited Johannesburg and visited his old house and my biggest regret is that I never met him.


Celebrate his life and don’t let his death over shadow his achievements. He has been a very inspirational and iconic figure for peace and humility to me. Nothing could be the equivalent to what he strived to achieve and proudly did accomplish.


You are in our thoughts due to the recent passing of Nelson Mandela. We understand that you and a number of others around the world are in mourning and this letter is to say that we in Britain are feeling an identical sympathy to all other part of the global INDRA network. Our condolences go out to you.


With our sincere condolences and love


INDRA, Bolton UK

Octagon Theatre | Howell Croft South | Bolton | BL1 1SB

Telephone: 01204 556501

Above: INDRA Global youth Congress Derry 2013 - all punching the air in a warm up exercise.(Photo Mary Lange)

Thursday 5 December 2013

ARROWSA Bergtheil Museum 

Cultural and heritage educational programmes 2013

Learning whilst imagining and having fun with Gogo, Mary and Nandi

Friendship in faciliation

                                                                 Prehistoric hunters


                                                               Archaeologists at work

Wednesday 4 December 2013

Imbewu Yesizwe: The Nation's Seed

devised by ARROWSA Bechet
scripted by Luthando Ngema, Bhekithemba Dlamini, Tshimanga Tshiteya and Darnell Fortune
Global performances in Derry/Londonderry and Lucknow, India supported by National Arts Council

Performances for all Bechet High Grades

directed by Bhekithemba Dlamini and Mary Lange



Tuesday 15 October 2013

ARROWSA: Art, Culture & Heritage for Peace (Reg 088-058 NPO)

Narrative Report beginning of April 2012 – end of March 2013
(as submitted to Department: Social Services, RSA
The Organisation’s major achievements over the past year:

List the Organisation’s planned objectives set at the beginning of the past year (the measurable activities you planned to achieve). Indicate which of the Objectives you achieved or partly achieved.  Explain how you achieved, or partly achieved, the Objectives.

A. Promote the arts for peace with an emphasis on interdependence on local (Durban) level to youth via the ARROWSA Bechet High School project.  This was achieved through twice a week sessions in 2012 and early 2013.  An average of 18 learners from Grade 8 to 12 from disadvantaged backgrounds attended the sessions but numbers dropped in this year.  The sessions included the use of drama, music, dance and visual arts. The school participation was coordinated by Joy Seidle and sessions were facilitated by Mary Lange and Bhekithemba Dlamini assisted by Luthando Ngema and Prestage Murima in 2012 and early 2013. A workshop in finger puppet making was facilitated by Sana Ebrahim, 18 October 2012. ARROWSA Bechet’s ongoing participation in quarterly Youth Forum workshops was facilitated by Joy Seidle (Schools portfolio). Collaboration between ARROWSA Bechet and Bechet Interact youth was facilitated by Bhekithemba Dlamini and further cemented through Mary Lange as guest speaker at the Interact awards ceremony 2012.  A collaborative project was held with Durban University of Technology’s art gallery, “South – North Conversations” on 20 July 2012, managed by Francesca Verga (DUT art gallery), and the Jewellery Design and Manufacture students facilitated by Marlene de Beer.  The opening of the exhibition was organised in collaboration with the Centre for Communication, Media & Society, University of KwaZulu-Natal and the Bechet High students performed. Sales of the exhibition went towards an ARROWSA Bechet representation at the upcoming 2013 Indra Global Youth Congress in Derry/Londonderry, Northern Ireland.  The ARROWSA-Bechet Ubuntu S’dumo Bike continued to be displayed in 2012 at the Green Heart City/Ecology & Cycling stand at the Imagine Durban Sustainable Living Exhibition, 30 August - 1 September 2012, Durban Exhibition Centre.  ARROWSA Bechet participant Gilly Mchunu received the Butterfly Beret Accolade for her contribution to heritage. Gilly received her accolade, at an event hosted by Green Heart City in conjunction with eThekwini Municipality, the South African National Society (SANS) and Alliance Française de Durban.

B. Promote culture and heritage for knowledge and the promotion of peace through understanding on local level to youth via the ARROWSA Bergtheil Museum and Palmiet Nature Reserve educational programmes.  This was achieved through the continued presentation of the programme San past and present at the Bergtheil Museum to Grade 4 and 5 learners. Through concerted efforts by the Palmiet Nature Reserve (PNR) Management Committee the educational programmes to the Gwalagwala cliff archaeological site were focused upon and revived with a view to continuance of the collaboration between programmes there and the Bergtheil Museum but specifically to providing a pilot project for schools from Township and inner city disadvantaged areas that had not yet attended the Palmiet programme. This was achieved through a successful funding application to the Trans-Vaal branch of the South African Archaeological Society.  The funding received was towards the marketing, presentation and research of the programme to specifically schools previously mentioned.  It was however once more emphasised that there was still a need for a bridge to be erected over the river. A media article appeared in a local newspaper, The Highway Mail, in this regard in February 2013.  The programmes and workshops were facilitated by Mary Lange, Aslina Madikizela,  Alvine Calboutin, Warren Friedman, Nandi Hlatshwayo  and Luthando Ngema in 2012-2013. Management support was provided by Nomusa Mabaso. 


C. Promote arts, culture and heritage for peace and reconciliation on a national (South Africa) level through intercultural exchange.  This was achieved through a successful bid to the National Heritage Council through CCMS, UKZN for funding to publish a coffee table book on the rock art recorded and the project methodology that took place in 2010 and 2011. ARROWSA coordinated the project and liaised successfully with Kalahari community members who contributed to the book. The Bergtheil San programme continued to contribute a percentage of profits to a Kalahari community.  Once more Msunduzi Museum requested that ARROWSA facilitate a storytelling outreach workshop in Pietermaritzburg in 2012.  This was successfully presented to underprivileged children by Luthando Ngema, Aslina Madikizela and Mary Lange at the South African Vroue Federasie (SAVF) community hall at Oribi Village. Various media articles disseminated ARROWSA objectives. These were written by Sana Ebrahim on ARROWSA project and events in The Daily News, The Independent on Saturday, Berea Mail, The Weekly Gazette, The Rising Sun and SUBtext No: 21, Winter 2012.

D. Promote arts, culture and heritage for peace on a regional (Southern Africa) level.  The links with a Zimbabwean school continue.  These were facilitated by Prestage Murima, a masters student of CCMS, UKZN. Links were mainly facilitated through the ARROWSA facebook page. This is an area that needs attention in the new year.

E.  Promote local, national, regional and global intercultural communication through use of the internet.  This was achieved globally through the successful implementation and completion of the intercultural project with Chile (initiated through ARROW international/now Indra Congress contacts) whereby the learners’ cultural information was exchanged via emails,  culminating in a Skype session between the learners.

The above objective was also achieved through the continued use of ARROWSA facebook administered by Mary Lange, Bhekithemba Dlamini and Sana Ebrahim. Facebook pages by collaborators such as South Roots in South Africa, INDRA Congress in the UK and ARROWZim (as previously mentioned) assisted in achieving this objective. Participation in the 2013 Derry Global Congress continued to be liaised both with the Indra Director, David Oddie and the Derry, Northern Ireland, coordinator, Mary Duddy.

ARROWSA also created their own blog http://arrowsa.blogspot.com/ with regular posts that communicated the activities, reports and plans of the organisation.  The blog was effectively used to link posts to ARROWSA facebook and relevant partners such as CCMS, UKZN facebook.

Media articles relating to ARROWSA events and projects were written and submitted by Sana Ebrahim: LOOKLOCAL (http://www.looklocal.co.za/looklocal/content/en/berea/berea-news-entertainment?oid=6165791&sn=Detail&pid=4197296&-Butterfly-Beret-accolades-recognise-youthful-trailblazers).

DUT (http://www.dut.ac.za/node/1941),


F.  Promote a national, regional and global network with common goals of arts, culture and heritage for peace.  This was achieved through the activities mentioned in A to E as they included not only individual artists and the organisers and participants in the activities mentioned above but also educators from Bechet High School, lecturers and students from the Centre for Communication, Media and Society (CCMS), University of KwaZulu-Natal and the Jewellery Department, Durban University of Technology, staff of the Bergtheil and Msunduzi Museum, staff and members of the Palmiet Nature Reserve Management Committee and members of INDRA Congress, Plymouth and Northern Ireland.

G.  Promote the collaboration of tertiary, secondary and primary educational institutions in action research on ARROWSA collaborative research projects.   This was achieved through various means under the ARROWSA research portfolio headed by Dr Dyll-Myklebust:

Masters student, Miliswa Magongo, successfully completed her Masters research on the NHC Biesje Poort project supervised by Lauren Dyll-Myklebust. Various papers, lecture notes and presentation were made on the NHC research re Biesje Poort.

-15 Oct 2012 Miliswa Magongo presented paper, Ripples of Empowerment? Exploring the role of participatory development communication in the Biesje Poort Rock Art Recording Project at the African Centredness Conference hosted by the School of Applied Human Sciences, UKZN.

Miliswa was awarded “Best Abstract” at the School of Applied Human Sciences “African Centredness” Conference.

-5 Oct 2012 Miliswa Magongo guest lectured for 3rd year Cultural Heritage and Tourism students at UKZN using the BP project as a case study highlighting the importance of community involvement in development projects.  19 Oct 2012 Shanade Barnabas guest lectured for 3rd year Cultural Heritage and Tourism students at UKZN: "Rock art: Conservation and Tourism".

 -Lange, M., Magongo, M. & Barnabas, S. (forthcoming) Biesje Poort rock engravings, Northern Cape: Past and Present. In Skotnes, P. & Deacon, J. (ed.), The Courage of ||Kabbo. Paper presented at the Courage of ||Kabbo Conference at UCT, 17-20 August 2011 to be published.
-CCMS Masters Research student, Prestage Murima’s proposal and ethics form was approved by the UKZN Higher Degree Committee (HDC). “Assessing teenagers’ knowledge, attitudes and perceptions towards teenage pregnancy. The case of Bechet High School”.

- CCMS, DCC Honours Projects: The 3 topics linked to ARROWSA’s affiliated projects and organisations all were examined and passed well. Danielle Evans:  “Unearthing the current cultural heritage tourism marketing strategy: Palmiet Archaeological Community Project Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, as a cultural heritage tourism site”. Dumisani Mthethwa:  “Analysing the role that indigenous Knowledge and heritage play in participatory development communication: A case study of ARROWSA: Art, Culture & Heritage for Peace project at Bechet High School” .
Sandisa Nyokana: “Participation Communication in Applied Theatre: An analysis of POPPETS (Program of Primary Prevention Education Through Stories) conducted by the South African National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal”.
-  Research conducted with / at ARROWSA affiliated projects and supervised by Mary Lange has been published in: Govender, E. and Durden, E. (2012) (eds.) Investigating Communication, Health and Development: 10 Years of Research in the Centre for Communication, Media and Society. South Africa: Jacana Media.  Van Staden et al (2005/2012) Arrow Online. Khan and Rasool (2005/2012) “Pieces of me”: An investigation into the use of still images in an Entertainment Education context in overcoming stereotypes. Reddy et al (2009/2012) Painting the problem: Body mapping as a participatory Entertainment Education tool in helping youth learn about conflict resolution. Mthiyane (2010/2012) A Song for Social Change: An ARROWSA Intervention at Bechet High School and the communication for participatory development (CFPD) model.

2012-2013 highlighted a need for greater feedback of research project results to the participants especially at ARROWSA Bechet. A further lack in the research area that was highlighted was a formal agreement as to the acknowledgment of the various research players where relevant.

H.  Register ARROWSA as a voluntary non profit organisation.  Accountant, Devin Griffiths, successfully completed the 2011 and 2012 financial statements and the relevant narrative reports were submitted. Devin Griffiths also successfully applied for a tax exemption number: Tax Ex Ref No: 9455/142/17/5.

I.  Promote sustainability of the project through obtaining funding for the various projects.

The registration of the organisation, two years of financial statements and registration for tax exemption made it easier to apply for funding in 2012-2013.  Funding applications were written by Mary Lange and Eliza Govender in consultation with Bhekithemba Dlamini.

Funding was awarded from National Heritage Council (NHC) for: Biesje Poort, Northern Cape, Rock Art Book: A Learning Process. This is a collaborative interdisciplinary and intercultural project based within CCMS, UKZN.

Objectives of the project are:
- To disseminate knowledge of the Biesje Poort rock art and surrounding areas.
-To provide opportunities for initial Biesje Poort team members (who promote multi-racial/cultural/academic disciplinary representativity) to gain skills in research, report writing and editing. 

On 26 November 2012: Mary Lange and Lauren Dyll-Myklebust attended a NHC Advocacy Workshop regarding the aforementioned funded project. 
The following funding applications were made in the year 2012-2013:

-A successful application in November 2012 was made to the Trans-Vaal branch of the South African Archaeological Society.  R20 000 was received that covered marketing, facilitation and research costs for the Palmiet Archaeological Educational programmes.

-An application to Ethekwini’s Grant-in-aids for the ‘Cooling Conflict: I am worthy’ that included workshops run by David Oddie was unsuccessful – reasons were not provided by eThekwini.

-An application to National Arts Council that included the scripting of an improvised play, Imbewu Yesizwe – The Nation’s seed by Tshetiya Tshimanga, Bhekithemba Dlamini and Luthando Ngema.  The funding application was for air tickets and London cultural excursion for 7 people attending the Indra Global Youth Congress 2013 – results in June 2013.

The collaborative DUT, ARROWSA, CCMS jewellery exhibition and the Palmiet raised funds towards the forthcoming 2013 global youth Derry congress. Further donations to this event were given by ARROWSA management and the general public through a donation request initiative  facilitated by Eliza Govender (ARROWSA Funding portfolio). Bergtheil and Palmiet educational programme costs were covered by school payment for the programmes. The general running and administration costs of ARROWSA were partly addressed through a continued ten percent admin cost on any compensation for programmes or workshops. Admin costs such as telephone, email, local transport costs etc. was covered by individual volunteers and collaborating organisations and institutions.


Challenges experienced regarding funding were as follows:

-An application was not made to the Lottery due to not meeting some of the requirements at this point in time e.g. a tax clearance certificate.

- Former corporate ARROWSA funders TBP Civils closed down and the firm Osmond Lange Architects was not able to provide financial funding for ARROWSA in 2012-2013 but they continued to sponsor photostats, prints and other administration support e.g. courier costs and skype facilities for the Chile project.

-A need was highlighted to obtain tax clearance certificates in the following financial year and possibly external auditing. Fund raising was still an objective that needed to be addressed to ensure sustainability of the organisation if present management was no longer available to carry general day to day running costs.

2.4 Give a general description of the ways in which beneficiaries (individuals/groups/ communities/social or economic or environmental condition) benefited from your Organisation’s programme, projects or services during the past year.

Durban youth benefitted through the acquisition of arts skills and knowledge of culture and heritage towards understanding of themselves and other cultures and thereby breaking down negative stereotypes. ARROWSA Bechet, through functions such as the CCMS, UKZN and DUT jewellery exhibition were able to meet and present to different age groups, economic profiles and cultures face-to-face whereby not only was their knowledge and understanding increased but skills and confidence was fostered specifically in performance, public speaking and ambassadorship. DUT jewellery students benefitted through the creation, promotion and sale of their jewellery.  Local artists benefitted from a platform to perform to the general public. Unemployed youth benefitted from opportunities for skill transference and training through participation as facilitators of the Bergtheil and Palmiet Nature Reserve programmes. The Bergtheil Museum and Palmiet Nature Reserve benefited through increased numbers of attendance. School learners and teachers who attended the Bergtheil and Palmiet Nature Reserve programmes benefited through experiential hands-on-knowledge and extension of their school curriculum. CCMS, UKZN benefited through research field work for their students.  Organisations and institutions, both government and non-government, who were affiliated or associated with ARROWSA in the year 2012-2013 benefited through positive exposure.


Sunday 6 October 2013

                         Poster design: Darnell Fortune                                Photo: Mary Lange
                                                      ARROWSA BECHET DRAMA
                                         "IMBEWU YESIZWE: THE NATION'S SEED"

                                       BECHET HIGH SCHOOL, Barns Road, Sydenham
                                             7th October to 11th October in the mornings
                                           and on Saturday afternoon 12th October at 2.30
                                                            Script adaptation by
                   Bhekithemba Dlamini, Luthando Ngema, Tshimanga Tshiteya & Darnell Fortune
                                                    Directed by Bhekithemba Dlamini

                                                          Cost: R5-00 per person


Friday 13 September 2013

ARROWSA was thrilled to receive a newsletter from INDRA directors: David Oddie, Dawn Melville and Tim Prentki, on the Indra Global Youth Congress 2013 in Derry!

September 2013

Dear Friends of Indra

This newsletter is written in celebration of the wonderful Congress in Derry organised by Mary Duddy and Sinead Devine.  The Congress was set alight by the creative energy, joy and friendship of the committed young participants who travelled from Palestine, India, South Africa, Brazil, Greece, Cyprus and from Burnley, Bolton, Durham and Plymouth in the UK.  The event was an inspiration to us all.

Photo: Emmett McSheffrey

Emmett was the official photographer for the event and you can view a selection of his Congress images, This is Indra 2013, on Youtube at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Vn3ZSjxs1A The photographs are accompanied by the Congress song, Happy Accidents, written, recorded and performed in less than a week by participants, with the guidance of singer/song writer Paddy Nash.

The successful hosting of the Congress represents a huge achievement for Mary Duddy and the members of First Act Theatre.  For our last ARROW/Indra Congress we enjoyed the backing of a University College, the use of space and accompanying infrastructural support.  Mary undertook the task this year as an isolated practitioner running a small youth theatre with minimal resources.  It was a great idea to link the Congress with the celebrations for the Derry City of Culture 2013 as this enabled Mary, with the help of the irreplaceable Sinead Devine, to engage with the City and attract support from a range of sources.  So, many thanks to UK City of Culture Company, EU Regional Development Fund under the PEACE III Programme, Arts Council NI Lottery funding, The Anna Lindh Foundation, Derry City Council Good Relations Project Funding, the University of Plymouth and local businesses Quinns Garage Ardmore and Centra, Trench Road and Mr and Mrs Grace.

Congress participants had to fund their own journeys to Derry, as there was no central pot of money to draw on.  This in itself presented huge fund raising challenges for young people and co-ordinators and the demand was met though a variety of local fund raising events and activities – First Act raised the resources to sponsor one of the Indian girls for example, and the generosity of sponsors, families and friends made the event possible.

It is always disappointing and sad when potential participants are unable to attend these events.  For example, it was a shame that we had no representation this year from Kosovo or Sierra Leone.   It is doubly sad when fund raising efforts have been successful and participants are so much looking forward to the Congress as a major experience, only to be turned down by the dead hand of bureaucracy.  During the week our hearts went out to Shweta, Preeti and Tulsi who were due to be part of the Indian group.  They had their visa requests turned down by the British High Commission.  A deeply upset Dr Urvashi Sahni, Head of the Study Hall Schools Foundation and their teacher, explained that all the girls had exactly the same paperwork and that she was nonplussed as to why 2 had been approved and 3 rejected.  These courageous young women fight daily all the prejudices in the book from sexism to caste-ism and they were heartbroken at missing out on this life transforming opportunity.  We wish them well and I hope we can keep in touch with them and bring them to another Indra event.

What happened at the Congress?
During the week we were treated to a running series of presentations, which represented the wide range of practice within the Indra groups.  The performances were moving, and sometimes painfully challenging, but they were all characterised by a strong sense of hope.

From Greece we watched a powerful and disturbing film, which showed the despair experienced by too many young people as they cope with an ugly growth of bullying in their struggling society.

The young people from Bolton demonstrated through presentation and film the range, depth and quality of their activities in the town; an impressive diversity of projects and workshops generating ideas and practice that challenge prejudice, alienation and racism.

From Cyprus we were treated to a ritualised performance, rooted in images of mythology and classical drama that portrayed the struggles of the past and present on the island, but which showed a strong hope for the future.

Although the Indian group was depleted by the absence of their three colleagues, they produced a very moving presentation using drama, dance and film, which showed the struggles of young women to resist forced, early marriage and to fight for their rights to education, respect and equality.   Despite the loss of three out of the five actors the performance was a very special event.  At the 2010 ARROW Congress the Indian girls had made a presentation which told the story of their friend Khushboo who had been forbidden to attend the Congress because her father had insisted she discontinue her education and accept early marriage.  This year Khushboo herself was present at the Congress and Dr Sahni showed the award winning short film in which Khushboo featured.

From Palestine we watched a strong, intense piece of theatre depicting the harrowing experiences of young people under Occupation, the brutal restrictions to travel in and out of their own land and the extraordinary challenges they face in their daily lives.  The play was an adaptation of a chapter in Mourid Bargouthi’s novel, The Bridge.  In Bargouthi’s words:  ‘The cliché has it that bridges are symbols of communication, connection and coexistence.  This bridge is a symbol of discrimination, distance, disunion, and the historic distinction between the frightener and the frightened, though sometimes it is hard to be sure who fears the other more.’  Despite the stark reality of the situation the young people were amazing in their positive attitudes and the hope they communicated.

Photo: Myrna Sakhleh

The group from Durham is part of the wider Jackass Youth Theatre and they treated us to an extract from their sobering, moving yet humorous play, Get Along, based on the village Categorisation scheme that was implemented by Durham County Council in the 1950s - Villages were graded A-D; A being economically viable and therefore worthy of support and regeneration, D being classed as a dying community after the closures of many mines and cokeworks. These villages were left to ruin, with councils buying up houses in streets and leaving them to decay, destroying the village aesthetic and driving out other inhabitants.

The Burnley group entertained us with a playful, ingenious exploration of the impact of football on the lives of young people in the town and the array of behaviours and attitudes from passion to hooliganism that emerge from it.
The South African group presented an informative and insightful presentation into the diverse cultures, traditions and tensions in their country, which is struggling to forge a new identity for itself.  The presentation provided a platform for the talents and verbal skills of the group and identified many questions and troubling issues facing young people.

The Plymouth group treated us to a powerful, moving and excitingly theatrical portrayal of the confusion and anxieties faced by young people in the UK as they struggle with the expectations and demands of the pressure cooker of education and their search for authentic identity.

And lastly, our very own hosts, the young people of First Act Theatre in Derry gave us a rich, diverse presentation, part spoken, part drama and part film which showed the very real, authentic strides that have been made in Northern Ireland towards a more peaceful future.  The presentation was bravely honest about the underlying tensions that still exist in the community, but was very positive about the extraordinary achievements that have been made and the hope that is emerging after so many years of despair.  The group lifted the Congress with their presentation and their warm, caring hosting of the entire week.

The Artists
During the week the participants took part in an exciting range of art workshops, which culminated in a joyous celebratory performance and exhibition evening at the Millenium Centre.  Mary Duddy led the team of artists and under her leadership the drama group produced a rich and vivid piece of theatre expressing their frustrations, feelings and aspirations.

Photo: Alix Harris

Visual artist Trisha McNally worked with the participants to produce a series of Indra nets; each participant at the Congress designed and made their own pearl with their individual choice of imagery, decoration or words.  The whole net was quite amazing.  Meanwhile, in the dance studio, Janie Doherty of Echo Echo Dance Theatre Company skilfully created a web of movement that allowed space for a rich and diverse array of expression.

Singer/song writer Paddy Nash worked with the participants to devise, write, rehearse and perform a very moving song for the Congress, Happy Accidents, which will be wormed into our heads for a long time!

Digital photographer Emmett McSheffrey, working in meticulous detail, took individual portraits of the participants, which were then made available for each person to enhance through word, image or reflection.

The Symposium
Tom Maguire, of the University of Ulster, kindly offered us a space for the day-long symposium, which was chaired by Tim Prentki.  The day offered an opportunity to reflect on where we are now and where we want to go next.  In the morning the delegates of young people and co-ordinators listened to each group’s key principles and aspirations.  This was followed by input from the young people who expressed concern about the lack of communication between events, the need to create more linking and partnership projects in between each Congress and for greater engagement in planning.  The group from Bolton volunteered to re-vamp the web-site and promote greater opportunities for dialogue and exchange.

The afternoon was spent discussing the practicalities of moving forward.  Proposals were made to hold the next Congress for 2015 in Bethlehem, Palestine, followed by South Africa in 2017.  These proposals give us clearly defined fixed points around which to build a wider programme of ongoing local, regional and collaborative projects.

The evening of cultural sharing has always been popular with participants and we had a splendid fun evening of dance, music, song and games.  On the Thursday afternoon the participants were given a guided tour of the City of Derry walls and visited a couple of museums, which helped to put the week’s experience in a wider historical and cultural framework.

In conclusion .........
A wonderful, transformative week, which will live long in the hearts and minds of those fortunate enough to attend.  A striking feature of this Congress has been the groundswell of energy from participants and co-ordinators, which is moving the Indra Congress into new territory. There is much to reflect upon and debate as we move now towards the next Congress in Bethlehem – a significant challenge of planning and organisation in itself.

So, many thanks to Mary Duddy, Sinead Devine, First Act Theatre and the people of Derry, for inviting us to your wonderful city for the Indra Congress 2013.

Best wishes from us all.

David Oddie
Tim Prentki
Dawn Melville

Indra Directors