For our Women’s Month feature we chat to Zenith Adams from Kewtown who was a member of the original District Six – The Musical and now uses her skills to teach dance to pupils in underprivileged schools. Reporter NABEELAH MOHEDEEN spoke to her.
At the age of 12 she joined the Silverleaf Performing Arts where she learnt to hone her drama, tap dancing, gymnastics, ballet, and contemporary dance skills. Years later, while working at a printing company in the arts department she received a call from her friend saying that auditions had opened for the musical. Two weeks later she received a letter in the post saying that she made it. She played “Sexy girl” and “Galiema”.
At the age of 28 she then became involved with the community by teaching the children how to dance at Silverleaf Performing Arts where she once learnt. At the same time she also became involved with the school concert at Silverlee Primary School in Silvertown and coached children at schools in Garden Village, and Mitchell’s Plain, some of which were underprivileged.
Now, she teaches drama and dance to about 800 children at Red River Primary School in Manenberg, with no fee involved but she is given a stipend as a donation from the teachers.
Her motivation to keep teaching she said, is the amount of talent that the children have, but it is not nurtured or developed because of a lack of money in their households. “They can’t wait to practice, they are so excited because they have nothing to do in their areas. I want to make a difference in the community and encourage the children to become something in life. I am amazed at the reaction that they have when they dance,” she said.
She said that although it is challenging, it is very rewarding to teach the children. “There is a lot of talent. The children need to be exposed to more than their school work. Their teachers don’t believe that it is the same child because they are different when they dance – they work together and sync together and it changes their behaviour, it teaches them respect,” she said.
Ms Adams thanked all those who have played a part in shaping her, including the community, her neighbours, teachers, family and friends.
“If you can make a difference in one or two children then you have made a difference,” she said.
The Red River Primary School concert will be held on Tuesday September 5 and Wednesday September 6 at the school hall at 7pm.
Call Zenith on 076 286 3611 for more information.