News in South Africa
Music to my ...thumbs?
Itumeleng Paradys* sucks her thumbs. When we first met this young girl, we thought her thumb-sucking habit was a sign of insecurity. How wrong we were!
Itumeleng, a twelve-year old child that participates in our Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC Programme in Motherwell, Port Elizabeth, turns into a determined and dedicated choir director when she parades in front of her peers during a performance. Instead of using her hands and arms to conduct while they are singing, she uses her very expressive face to demonstrate the feeling the choir members need to put into their song. The mouth that sucks her thumb in idle moments, or when she is in deep concentration forms perfect vocal sounds to spur her choristers on.
We learned that Itumeleng used to play the flute, an instrument her teacher and our Kidz Club Contact at her school, borrowed for her from some musician. She no longer has the use of the flute and has since used her face and body to direct that little choir of OVC’s. OLF is trying to source a new flute for Itumeleng to practice and perform with.
It may sound to you as though we are raving about a little wonder, born into a perfect world. Alas, Itumeleng’s world is far from perfect. Enshrouded in poverty, her home has very little to offer a young, growing child. Orphaned after her mother’s death, she and her two siblings now live with her grandmother, who finds it difficult to make ends meet. In their little house, there are also other orphaned children and the grandmother has a total of 10 people to feed.
At the OLF Kidz Club where she attends, Itumeleng is treated with respect. The young, slightly built girl turns into a dynamo when the choir performs. Has music become the world she escapes to when circumstances get her down? Or is it the Kidz Club that she attends, where she has an outlet for her talent, something to eat and time to just be a child and play? Whatever the reason may be, we may yet be surprised. Who knows, Itumeleng may one day become a world class performer.
* Not the child's real name
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