The Wire We Have Walked So Far

Zip Zap was founded in Cape Town in 1992, to inspire young people and help build a new culture of peaceful coexistence in South Africa. Working with a diverse community of children from all backgrounds, Zip Zap helps kids to ‘dare to dream’ and learn to make those dreams a reality. Zip Zap’s programs are all free to participants, with financial and material support coming from individuals, organisations, corporations and foundations. In South Africa and the world, Zip Zap is recognised across Governments, Ministries of Education, Tourism, Arts & Culture and private societies, as a major contributor to the development within the iconic ‘Mother City’ and providing sustainability of the circus arts in South Africa.

Zip Zap is dedicated to supporting and conducting training in circus arts and performance as a powerful tool for social transformation, youth empowerment, team building and community upliftment. The programs provide opportunities for young South Africans from very different backgrounds to play, learn and live together using the medium of circus training and performance to model and demonstrate the possibility of true coexistence.

Zip Zap operates predominantly within the Western Cape. However, as the annual calendar of events varies from year to year, Zip Zap periodically tours internationally and nationally presenting performances and/or skills transmission programs.

The Zip Zap children have performed for presidents and world leaders. They have done more than 30 international tours and numerous international media showcases. Kids, who began as six-year-olds swinging from a trapeze tied to a tree, are now professional performing artists working in Europe and North America. Young people who grew up on the streets are now skilled and valued artists and technicians in the entertainment and film industries. Best of all, these kids have become teachers themselves. They are ambassadors and role models for others, demonstrating dramatically to young people and the wider public the possibility of a new way of treating each other.

  • 1992 The beginning of Zip Zap

    Zip Zap opens their doors to the world

  • 1994 Zip Zap's first tour

    First tour to Grahamstown, South African National Arts Festival

  • 1995 Zip Zap's second tour

    Show for president Mandela 77th birthday

    SABC television reports

    Second tour to Grahamstown

  • 1996 First international tour

    First international tour to Denmark for the Images of Africa festival

  • 1997 Second international tour

    Second international tour to Switzerland and France

  • 1998

    Moving to 1’200m² warehouse

    Performed 150 shows all over the country

  • 1999 Tour to USA

    Third international tour to Houston, USA to represent South Africa at Sub Saharan Arts Festival

  • 2001First professional troupe

    First professional troupe leaves Zip Zap to perform in France & Belgium.

  • 2002 International Circus Festival

    Zip Zap invited to perform at the prestigious International Circus Festival in Monte-Carlo and in Italy at the Festival of the city of Latina

  • 2003Zip Zap Abroad again

    5th place at the biggest children talent TV show VEO VEO & 2nd professional troupe of 3 girls leave for Switzerland

  • 2004Zip Zap tours Holland

    12 cities, 35 shows in 4 weeks.
  • 2005Bridge Building of the Year finalist

    Proudly South African – “Bridge Building of the Year” finalist

  • 2006Zip Zap USA

    Creation of Zip Zap USA registered charity - 501(c) 3

  • 2006Sappi & Commonwealth games

    Sappi “Ideas That Matter” winner

    Performed at the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne

  • 2007Festival Mondial du Cirque de Demain

    Paris, France

    Nikouline Russian trophy for Best comedy awarded to Joka boys bench act.

  • 2008Zip Zap dome

    Set-up of the dome in the Founders Garden, Cape Town City Centre

    Roof wetting show “Once Upon A Circus”

  • 2009Men’s Health Magazine

    Brent van Rensburg, winner of the Men’s Health trophy for Public Service + Zip Zap performs for Red Bull in Austria

  • 2010Art of Rock

    Zip Zap creates “Art of Rock” with the Parlotones

    Paul du Toit painted live in the dome

  • 2011Zip Zap UK & Mayor's Medal

    Creation of Zip Zap UK, registered charity

    Brent van Rensburg Mayor’s Medal for Youth Affairs

  • 2012Art of Rock 2 & France

    Zip Zap produced Art of Rock 2 with Freshlyground and Paul du Toit in the dome for 5000 people

    Laurence Estève Knight of the National Order of Merit from French government

    Opening of the Festival Mondial du Cirque de Demain in Paris, France

  • 2013Beyond Sports Pan-African Awards

    Winner for Entrepreneurship in Education

  • 2014Vocational Training programme relaunch

    Relaunch of Zip Zap full time vocational training programme Dare to Dream

    Performed in Namibia

    Performed for 17 NGOs

  • 2015Performs in Africa

    Zip Zap performs in Namibia and Nigeria

    Zip Zap runs 9 different programmes reaching 1’400 youth

  • 2016White House performance

    Zip Zap performs at the White House Washington DC, USA for Halloween

    Performed in Spain for the AIDS Foundation

    Created SIDEWAYS show

    Performed with band AL BAIRRE

  • 2017Zip Zap turns 25

    Brent and Laurence receive the Paul Harris fellowship from The Rotary

    Performs in Zurich for Roger Federer foundation

    Performs in Reunion Island for the Leu Tempo Festival.

    Produced and performed 25LIVE with The Parlotones.

    Produced and performed JOURNEY with the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra.

    Opens the Zip Zap ACADEMY in Salt River

  • 2018African Circus Arts Festival, Ethiopia

    Two new programmes launched: The Hood and ECD

    Zip Zap attends the African Circus Arts Festival from 27 Feb to 4 Mar

    Journey Beyond, Artscape, 13 to 19 August

    Ile de Groix, France, 20 to 30 September

    Demains Volunteers programme with the Wisefools in October

    Menlyn, Pretoria, 34 shows, 5 to 23 December

  • 2019RICA Festival

    Zip Zap attends the 2nd annual RICA Festival in Ivory Coast

    Performs at Fleur du Cap and DCAS annual awards

    Rand Easter show: 25 to 28 April

    Journey Beyond, Joburg Theatre, 19 to 22 September

    Launch of I CAN FLY children’s book

    Launch of A CIRCUS FAMILY documentary

    Launch of the ZIP ZAP ACADEMY coffee table book

    Performs 34 shows, Menlyn, Pretoria, 3 to 23 December

  • 2020Match in Africa #6

    52, 000 world record audience at the Cape Town Stadium

    Bronze Standard Bank ovation for ONCE UPON A CIRCUS at vNAF

    ImpACT award nomination for Emerging Artist

    First virtual screening of The Caretaker

    Second virtual screening of Art of Rock