Phyllis Klotz

“…the performing arts are extraordinarily difficult and you have to be very tenacious…”

Smal Ndaba

“…theatre actually it’s not just only performance… but it opens up somebody’s mind…”

To understand ‘a passion for theatre’, begin by understanding Sibikwa. To understand how theatre can uplift, heal, educate, transform and entertain, begin by understanding Smal Ndaba and Phyllis Klotz, for they are Sibikwa. With the model they have created in South Africa, a wise government would adopt it and replicate it across the country.

It began when Smal was in Australia with the play Bopha, here he met Phyllis Klotz; she too was touring with a play, You Strike a Women You Strike a Rock. He shared with her his concern about the suffering of his people back in South Africa, teenage pregnancy, violence in townships, low levels of education, the desperation of parents seeing the despair of their children. They came home together and formed the Sibikwa Arts Centre in Daveyton, Benoni. Sibikwa means ‘to make an announcement.’  This they did and children came pouring into the centre, grateful mothers singing their praise.

Armed with a degree in drama from Cape Town University, Phyllis began raising money to help Smal build the centre. Smal, who received his  grounding in theatre from the famed Workshop 71 began creating plays, teaching young students.

The centre has grown and their results have been miraculous. Smal and Phyllis have been rewarded, seen lives turned around, seen teenagers find a purpose. Sibikwa is today recognised as a Centre of Excellence, but their struggle never abates. Funds remain elusive, the needs of the community too great. But in thirty years they have never given up and we hope they never will.