CIRCUS KIDSNokuthula Ayanda Petunia DlaminiWe live in a society where life often presents us with rather stark contrasts. Few are more beautiful and poignant than that of South Africa’s Circus Kids! I wonder how many people know that our own Boswell-Wilkie Circus/ Zip Zap Circus are non-profit organisations that help at-risk youths by giving them a safe space, food in their bellies and skills and confidence to carry them through to a brighter future.
These Social Circus schools are now focused on teaching youngsters a variety of skills not just limited to cool acrobatics and physical comedy, but also many social skills that will be beneficial to them throughout their lives. They are shown that, despite the most desperate conditions, miraculous things are possible if we work together.
The main objective is to assist the kids with skills for their future and to foster a love of the performing arts:

  • To understand themselves better through their own personal experiences, circumstance or challenges, which make them see or identify their purpose and gives them the strength to face it.
  • The sky is the limit 
  • No matter what they face it should not be an obstacle or a way to hinder them or their dream, but rather a challenge to be overcome through tenacity and imagination.
  • To recognise and utilise their innate talents and grow confidence within.
  • To embrace their uniqueness and use it in positive ways to enhance their lives.
Children who attend the schools are encouraged to participate in the live shows and form an integral part of the line-up.
This is a true showcase of how fearless and adventurous our youth is, how much they can achieve if given a little guidance and shown some grace and humanity. They develop emotionally, physically and mentally, preparing them for any challenges they may face in the future. When asked if the kids enjoyed the experience, if they thought it was worthwhile as a future for them or just a bit of fun, they overwhelmingly responded that being introduced to these classes literally changed their lives. Some of these children were struggling to feed their own brothers and sisters before they discovered the circus that changed everything.
The main programs are Beginners programs, Jumpstreet, Simunye, Zappers, The Hood and various others, where the kids are taught to “sing for their supper”.
They always perform with great enthusiasm and pride, as they know how hard they’ve worked to put on a spectacular show and are proud too that they are able to help others like themselves to do the same!

Any donations or monies raised through performances and various means goes directly to cover costs including, but not limited to staff salaries, equipment (wear and tear, replacement of trapeze winches, climbing ropes, juggling rings, specialised gymnastics sponge mats, hoola-hoops, etc.). Clothing programme for the children (winter wear, blankets, etc.) Vehicles for collecting and delivery of children (Drivers, licenses, fuel, maintenance and more).
The next time you’re looking for something really fun, stop in at the circus and let them knock your socks off, while you help to keep theirs on.