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Pépé's eiland (16-02-2008)

Pépé's Island

We are pleased to announce the birth
of our first project for the Virtual School:


was born after a long pregnancy at Sering, on February 16th, 2008. This announcement is made by the proud parents: Sering, Arena y Esteras, Tswelopele Performing Artists, Divadlo z Pasáze, Teatro Pregones

A group of kids is looking for rare shells on an uninhabited island. At the eve of their departure, they get lost after a fiery storm leaves the beach unrecognisable. During their search for their ship that will leave the same evening, they learn by coincidence that the island isn't really uninhabited.
When Tommy, the youngest of the group, finds a beautiful shell and wants to take it home with him, the children enter into a strange story... the story of the island and its original inhabitants.

“This project is not business as usual, but unique, with vision and broad potential.
(William Aguado, executive director, The Bronx Council of the Arts)

Pepe's Island is the first child of the virtual school. Today, with palpitating heart, we let it make its first steps, and we hope that you, together with us, will tend it a helping hand, so that it can find a place in the world...

Bits of history that have been deliberately concealed melt together with fantasy at Pepe's island:

The story of Villa El Salvador:
In 1972, 200 homeless families, craving for a permanent place to live, occupy a piece of derelict land near Lima, the capital of Peru. The government preferred this piece of land to be used in a rather different way... Nevertheless  the homeless got support from other sources and fairly soon, 9,000 families formed a block against the government. After long negotiations they got a bigger piece of land, a sandy plane on the outskirts of Lima. Full of hope and courage they christened their new home "Villa El Salvador" or "City of the Saviour". They went work to make the sandy plane into a real city, with water, electricity and other services. They're still working on it today... (For more information:
Ana Sofia Toguchi and Arturo Zuñiga of Arena y Esteras saw in the island inhabitant 'mama Helena' their own heroine, Marielena Moyano, an ordinary woman from Villa El Salvador who fought for the rights of women and was murdered on February 15, 1992 by the terrorist organisation Shining Path.

The pencil test in South Africa:
In 1948 the Nasional Party came to power in South Africa and racial discrimination was enshrined in law. This had far-reaching consequences: the lighter your skin, the better your chances to do something with your life. In a national register the race of each person was listed. In case of doubt there were 'tests', one more stupid than the next. There was for example the pencil test. They put a pencil in your hair and then you had to jump up and down. If the pencil remained seated, you were 'black', if it fell, you were 'coloured' or 'blank', depending on how you scored in others 'tests'. Often members of same family were classified in different races and families and communities were broken up. Many South Africans tried to change from one category to another to move, usually from coloured to white. The whites got indeed the most opportunities: ten times more money was spent on the education of a white child, whites got the most beautiful houses in the best neighbourhoods, the best jobs, while blacks couldn't leave their 'bantoestan' without a pass. (source: Oxfam World: South Africa - fair trade with the rainbow nation)

Actors: Rebecca Huys, Lisette Mertens, Maria De Laet, and Ana Sofia Pinedo Toguchi (on video)
Kids Borgerhout: Kaoutar Gaouri, Loubna Gaouri, Saloua Laaraj, Soukaina Laaraj, Emmanuella Lunanga, Denzel Obasi, Ifechi Obasi, Yousra Taheri, Sara ten Broek
Players Tembisa (on video): Rachel Monama, Tiny Florah Manuela, Itumeleng Faith Thobejane, Phuti Efred Chokwe, Marven Mothusi Motseko, Mokgomotsi Ephraim Mampe, Koketso Mashedi, directed by Oupa China Malatjie
Players Villa El Salvador (on video): Elisabeth Romero Quincho, Mayra Pintado Villanueva, Angelica Godoy Segovia, Leidy Chujutalli Orellana, Lucero Malero Durand, Wendy Sheyla Porras Flores, Milagros Huaman Acuna, Karen Stefany Chilingano Jimenez, Lizbeth Dalia Flores Olivares, Randy Alonso Molina Mauro, Aracely Fernandez Carrasco, Rosalin Azano Tantas, Rossmery Parche De La Cruz, Lucio Alejandro Burgos Morales, Elvis Armando Salas Huamani, Erlita Cesar, Joselyn Romero, Magaly De Susan, directed by Ana Sofia Pinedo Toguchi and Cesar Arturo Mejia Zuñiga

Directing and concept: Mia Grijp; assistance: Inge Verhees; scenography and audiotape: Ivo Vander Borght; costumes: Hilde Colaers; video montage: Pascal Poissonnier; technicians: Azal Al Mialyi, Mokhallad Rasem Hussein; media and PR: Tania Poppe

affiche Pépé's eiland
• representations at Sering on February 16, 17, 22, 23, 24, 29 and March 1 and 2, 2008
• MiniMundo, Boom, on May 7, 2008

Tswelopele Performing Artists rehearsing the Thula Song

With special thanks to

• Touché Guimarães, for the innumerous translations.
• Steffie Borgers, for the comprehensive overview she made of all the e-mails that were sent between the organisations involved in the project, from the first idea till now.
• Music centre Trix, for putting their space and material at our disposal.
• Culture Minister Bert Anciaux, because he didn't follow the negative advice of the commission, enabling us to organise a media training for the core group of the project, training that contributed to making this birth possible.
• Tom Roos who from his own organisation Archidee, acted as a stand-by in Soweto to assist our partners there with council and deed.

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