Thursday 11 July 2019

ARROWSA Bechet Portfolio

Portfolio leader Bhekithemba Dlamini

The ARROWSA Bechet Portfolio is headed by the enthusiastic and talented Mr Bhekithemba (Bheki) Dlamini.  Bheki is an ARROWSA Bechet alumni from 2005-2009 who is now employed as an assistant teacher at Bechet High School, Durban but who voluntarily leads the ARROWSA Bechet programme.  Bheki has performed at the ARROWSA Kalahari and overseas intercultural events including Indra Congresses in Plymouth and Derry, Northern Ireland. He has devised, scripted and directed a number of applied theatre productions that have been performed at numerous venues including at Bechet High for the school and the Sydenham community and that have competed in the Ethekwini Local History Museum's Abasha Basha competition.

Upcoming production devised by Bheki with the ARROWSA Bechet team 2019

In 2012-2013 he scripted and directed the devised applied theatre production: “1955” that was based on the history of a high school that was established in the apartheid era and was only for people of diverse cultural backgrounds. In 2015 he coordinated devised performances at jewellery exhibitions at Old House Museum and Durban University of Technology. Bheki led the ARROWSA Bechet group at the Indra Congress that took place in Durban in July 2017 with acclaimed song and dance performances. He has been part of a number of intercultural and artist exchange programmes between Indra Congress, Plymouth and India in South Africa and Plymouth.

Bhekithemba Dlamini and Indra Congress Director David Oddie in Plymouth, UK

The ARROWSA Bechet programme started as part of a global arts for peace inititive started by David Oddie of Plymouth who is now director of the Indra Congress. The sustainability of the programme has been made possible by Bheki's consistent dedication to the programme since he took over leadership from Mary Lange.  He is assisted by the support of the alumni, ARROWSA management, and the Bechet High School staff in particular the principal Mr Padayachee who allowed the programme to start at the school. 


Mr Padayachee, principal of ARROWSA Bechet High School at the ARROWSA Bechet                                                                            prizegiving 2018.

Bheki and ARROWSA Bechet alumni who assisted with the July 2019 workshop and the production of the upcoming 'Imbewu Yesizwe: The Nation's Seed' musical production devised by Bheki and the team.

The ARROWSA Bechet programme runs as an extramural activity at Bechet High School twice a week in the afternoon and holiday workshops and is made up of approximately 40 learners of diverse cultural backgrounds.  The objectives of the  programme is the use of the arts - performance and visual - to promote intrapersonal and interpersonal social change.  Activities include the use of hand mapping, drawing, photography, dance, singing and acting that are facilitated by Bheki and guest artists. 


ARROWSA Bechet participants at the July 2019 workshop (Photographs by ARROWSA alumni Vincent)

Although the process of the creation of the arts is emphasised the group takes part in numerous local, national and international events as part of ARROWSA's objectives to promote intercultural understanding through face-to-face meetings.  

ARROWSA Bechet at the eThekwini Local History Museum's Abasha Bash competition 2019.

An annual prizegiving takes place at the end of the year where ARROWSA Bechet participants are encouraged with certificates and trophies for their dedicated support of the programme through sharing and developing their artistic talents.Tokens of appreciation are also awarded to members of the public who show sustainable support for the programme.

 Bheki at the ARROWSA Bechet annual awards 2018 

 Dr Lauren Dyll, ARROWSA management research portfolio and CCMS, UKZN senior lecturer, receives her ubuntu award in 2018. Lauren received the award for her sustained support of the ARROWSA Bechet programme especially through her enthusiastic and sucessful fundraising efforts since 2004.


Sunday 7 July 2019


ARROWSA has a Research Portfolio led by Dr Lauren Dyll of the Centre for Communication, Media and Society (CCMS) University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN).

The most recent research project that ARROWSA has assisted in took place in Lydenburg /Mashishing, Mpumalanga, South Africa. See the article below written by Dr Lauren Dyll.


The Marking Memories project is one of the projects that characterises this research and community engagement partnership. Dr Mary Lange is instrumental in the Mashishing project as an Arts, Culture and Heritage specialist, is the ARROWSA chairperson and is a CCMS Honorary lecturer. Dr Lauren Dyll is the project leader, senior lecturer at CCMS and is head of the research portfolio for ARROWSA.

On 4 June 2019 Dr Mary Lange, Nongcebo Ngcobo and Dr Lauren Dyll set out for Mpumalanga to conduct a preliminary field trip for the research project, “Marking memories: pre-industrial to contemporary, north of the Garib River and west of the Lembombo Mountains”. The project aims to operationalise indigenous knowledge systems in a diverse contemporary South African society by the inclusion of diverse African languages, and comparisons of past through to present engravings found in two different regions of South Africa.  Engravings can be considered markings of identity. In order to foreground the idea of living heritage and dynamic identities an important component of the project is to document the multivocal, intercultural readings of the local rock engravings by members of a diverse research team that includes academics, local professionals (teachers and museum staff) and local community members. 

Also of interest to the project are the ways in which people in Mashishing today, use markings for their personal or community identity. Interesting discussions emanated both from the teacher’s workshop facilitated by Dr Mary and the interviews Nongcebo conducted with Busisiwe Ngwane (a local teacher) and several museum staff. Nongcebo, who is supervised by Dr Lauren, is writing her Masters within the broader project. Her topic assesses the potentiality of participation within the Mashishing Marking Memories project from a culture-centered approach. JP Celliers, Lydenburg Museum curator, spent two days with Dr Mary, Nongcebo and Dr Lauren. They visited the museum itself, as well as the ‘Bokoni City’ that includes remnants of the Late Iron age stonewalled homesteads of the Koni people – a farming community who lived in Mpumalanga between 1500s- 1820s.

(L-R): Ngcobo , Celliers and Dr Mary speak to Busisiwe Ngwane about topics of heritage in the school curriculum. This was at the Lydenburg museum.

They also did a recce of the Boomplaats Rocks Art site that reveals direct evidence of how the Late Iron Age Bokoni farmers lived and organised their living space – many engravings depict the typical Nguni settlement patterns. Although the engravings’ authorship and subject matter is becoming clearer, its meanings and motivation for its creation remain poorly understood. Mary, Nongcebo and Dr Lauren are grateful to Lydenburg Museum staff for their warm hospitality and insightful couple of days.

Embarking on the 21 June 2019
Marking Memories Mashishing Project 
Photo by JP Celliers Photo by Mary Lange Photo by Lauren Dyll
In photo:

(L-R) Dr Lauren, Dr Mary and Ngcobo admire a large stone engraving 

Dr Lauren and Celliers at stone wall settlement

(L-R) Ngcobo, Dr Mary and Celliers in a discussion 

Further examples of ARROWSA Research Portfolio projects are included in the 2017-2018 report below written by Dr Lauren Dyll.

ARROWSA (Art, Culture & Heritage for Peace) Research Report
1 April 2017 – 31 March 2018

The following publications includes data from ARROWSA-related research projects.
Dyll, L. (2018) Indigenous environmental knowledge and challenging dualisms in development: observations from the Kalahari, Development in Practice, 28(3), 332-344. DOI: 10.1080/09614524.2018.1438368.

Lange, M.E. (2016) Marking memories: indigenous north of the ! Garib River and contemporary in Westville, South Africa, Critical Arts, 30:6, 855-876, DOI: 10.1080/02560046.2016.1263218.
Lange, M & Ngema, L. (2017) Arts as a resource for reconciliation, ARROWSA in South Africa, WUMEN BAGUNG Communication for Development and Social Change Bulletin, RMIT.

The following presentations includes data from ARROWSA-related research projects.
Dyll, L. (Nov 2017) Attended and presented a paper at the Consuming the Environment conference, at Gavle University (Sweden), “Indigenous environmental knowledge and challenging dualisms in development: two Kalahari case studies”.

Action research
Continued action research on the Palmiet Nature Reserve and Bergtheil programmes (details in other portfolio report sections)

Indra Congress / symposium preparations
Preparations for Indra Congress Research Symposium (to be held in July 2018), facilitated by Miranda Jahanger (ARROWSA/ Drama and Performance Studies).