MotherTongue Langeberg Youth Arts Project

The Mothertongue Project has, over the past four years, been implementing a project aimed at developing creative expression, leadership and entrepreneurial skills amongst young men and women in the Langeberg region. The project addresses the need, as expressed by the youth of the region, for the creation of dialogue groups for young men and women, and the imparting of leadership development through life skills, communication training, and self-management skills.  It is envisioned that intervention strategies that address these will result in an increase in self-confidence and esteem, which in our experience, motivates and assists participants in imagining and actioning a different, more productive life for themselves,where they are active agents in the choices that they make.

The youth participants have been trained in performance skills (acting, voice, movement and playmaking) as well as in leadership development, basic entrepreneurial skills, and participatory facilitation skills

More recently the project has  formed a community theatre company comprising of 6 young people. Over the past 18 months the company has been involved in rolling out awareness raising performances in the region to various schools, community based groups/organisations, farms and wherever else the need arises. This year saw the company members establishing drama groups with school going youth in the different in which they locate. 



how it began...

2011 saw The Mothertongue Project collaborating with the McGregor Community Policing Forum in recruiting participants for the creation of ‘n Tas Vol Drome / A Suitcase Full of Dreams. This project centred around questions of reconciliation.  10 young people between the ages of 14 and 18 from McGregor, 6 facilitators (2 drawn from the Mothertongue pool of experienced facilitators and the University of Cape Town’s Drama Department and 4 young facilitators drawn from Mothertongue’s internship programme and from the University of Cape Town’s Drama Department) worked with the 10 young people from Friday 9 December, culminating in a performance on Saturday 17 December.

In June 2012 we implemented the second installment with nine young people from McGregor working alongside nine students from the University of Cape Town’s Drama Department. The performance, ‘n Klein-Groot Wêreld explored notions of home and the paths that connect.  



In July 2012, The Mothertongue Project commenced with The Langeberg Youth Arts Project, an Arts, Leadership, and Entrepreneurship Programme. The Programme provides Participatory Theatre Training, which is integrated with a Leadership Development Training as well as an Entrepreneurial Skills Training to unemployed youth between the ages of 18 and 30. 

the dream continues...

In September 2013, 7 participants from the Langeberg region and 10 students from the University of Cape Town’s Drama Department spent a week creating a 3rd performance. The project expanded to include participants from McGregor, Robertson, Nkqubela, and surrounding farms. The performance was centred on the theme of: “What In My Life Has Made Me Who I Am Today” and formed part of a 2nd year course in Applied Drama that is offered at UCT. 

In September 2014, 8 students from UCT’s Drama Department worked in residence with 6 Langeberg Participants to develop a performance in response to TB in the region. onTploffing pulsing Breath performed to an audience in McGregor on Sunday 7 September.

2015 launched their involvement in Beat TB, a collaborative initiative between SATVI, UCT Drama Department and The Mothertongue Project. The Beat TB project saw the company of 8 rolling out various performance interventions that address the problems of TB in the region. According to Dr Michele Tameris, who is based at the Worcester field site of the South African Tuberculosis Vaccine Initiative (SATVI), this Wellcome Trust International Engagement Award funded  project  was developed to encourage the community of Worcester to engage with the science of  TB disease and research, as well as to consider their options and choices about their own health. ttp://

September 2016 saw the birth of Early Years Theatre (EYT).  6 UCT drama students collaborated with 6 Mothertongue youth company members  to develop 3 pieces of Early Years Theatre for young children aged 2-7.  The pieces were performed to children from the McGregor Waldorf School, the Byekorf Creche (Friday 9th Sept.) and a group of children from the local neighbourhood on Sunday 11th Sept. Early Years Theatre employs knowledge from development psychology, neuroscience and cognitive science in the creation of performances. Birth to the age of six is a crucial time for childhood development. Research reveals that when children engage in sustained creative encounters, their physical and sensory development is stimulated in a multitude of ways, which allows them to explore, experiment and communicate. This is necessary for neural development, as well as for a child’s growing understanding of themselves and the world around them and bears significance on the behavioural development of the child.

The Mothertongue Project is keen to bring Early Years Theatre to the entire Langeberg region in the near future.

2017- Early Years Theatre has arrived in the Langeberg Region. Four Youth Interns employed on a one year contract basis have been reshaping the 3 EYT pieces  and will be performing them at 4 Early Childhood Development (ECD) Centres/Primary schools. Already the pieces have had positive reactions from the children at Byekorf Creche in McGregor, where the Youth Company carried out their dress rehearsal performances.