Youth Programme Simunye
Simunye (“we are one”) formed in 1992 and is the heart of Zip Zap’s circus school, bringing children from outreach and youth streams together to learn, to create, and to work towards common goals such as creating and performing acts.
The programme strives to instill the core values of Zip Zap through social cohesion, discipline and teamwork. With a more focused approach to learning and developing circus skills, and increased physical demands, participants commit to two weekly sessions, reaping the benefits from investing more time and training. Simunye is also the reservoir for potential candidates for Dare2Dream, Zip Zap’s full-time vocational training programme.
A safe and familiar training space allows for participants to play, train, learn, collaborate and create together! Children display improvements in physical fitness and higher-level circus skills. These regular interactions encourage pro-social behaviours and ensure participants benefit from improved interpersonal skills. There is also a visible increase in levels of optimism and confidence, which contribute to improved goal setting and decision-making.
Because the programme is not age-specific, older, more experienced participants begin to emerge as role-models to the younger, less experienced ones. There are also valuable lessons to be learned about the possibilities and opportunities that circus and the performing arts offer, like travel, technical skills and performing.
Participants perform in the annual “Show and Tell”, demonstrating their skills and showmanship.
Advanced to Zappers
Accepted into Dare2Dream
A Shining Star
Shyleen was born in Malawi and moved to South Africa to live with her father, Mark. He was a gymnast in his youth and attended one of Zip Zap’s adult classes. Mark was instrumental in introducing Shyleen to Zip Zap.
Shyleen joined the Beginners programme in 2019 and, because of her extraordinary enthusiasm and motivation, she advanced to Simunye in 2020. She has a special love and talent for acrobatics and contortion, and really shines out in classes! She was saddened that classes were suspended during the national lockdown due to Covid-19.
Nevertheless, Shyleen has made a special effort to keep practicing and has been an incredible inspiration to others as she continues to send videos and pictures to her peers in the Simunye programme. One day, she wants to travel the world as a performer.
“It is very important to persevere and never give up! We must stay strong, respectful and disciplined. These are qualities I have learned from Zip Zap.” – Shyleen