The Red Shoe Workshop goes to Keiskamma

Well, last week was certainly a busy one! On Monday I gathered up piles of fabric, embroidery threads, scissors, needles and pins, loaded them into the vehicle and set off for Hamburg, a small coastal village that lies between East London and Port Alfred. My purpose was to take my Red Shoe Workshop to the trainee Community Development Officers of the Keiskamma Trust. This programme is overseen by the Centre for Social Development at Rhodes University, and my co-facilitator for the workshop was the group’s trainer, Nozipho Khwababa, an employee of the CSD.

The great thing about this workshop is that depending upon the group who are participating; it morphs into what it needs to be. In this case, Nozipho wanted her students to have the opportunity to strengthen their sense of self, so that when they walk amongst the community, they will feel lighter, less burdened by the trials they face.

The concept of the workshop was completely new to all but one of the group, so their anxiety levels were high when I explained what they would be doing. Most of the participants couldn’t believe that it was possible to achieve the goal I had set, but nevertheless bravely entered into the process.  By Day Two the mists of confusion were gradually starting to lift, and by Day Three, the students had the bit between their teeth and were so into the process that they took their projects home and worked on them overnight.

By the final day, the frowns and shaking heads had changed to laughter and celebration. They couldn’t believe what they had achieved, and in the closing discussions reported feeling very much better about themselves and what they were capable of achieving.

We returned to Grahamstown late on Friday, extremely tired, but happy that the workshop had been such a success.

Categories: Workshops | Tags: , , , | 7 Comments

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7 thoughts on “The Red Shoe Workshop goes to Keiskamma

  1. Stunning work, Sally – but why am I not surprised? Really well done.

  2. Penny Bernard

    Stunning Sal…..wonderful you are spreading your skills to such a deserving group of people! Now you must organise a ritual dance with the shoes on!!

  3. Wonderful to read about this project with the community of Hamburg. So transformative. It is a powerful thing that you do, Sally. The power of the needle to express inner voice and story is so compelling.

    • The Red Shoe Workshop has enormous potential to transform, Val, and there seems to be no end to the number of people who will benefit from taking part in it. Working with these community groups has been a very humbling, but richly rewarding experience.

      • My poet friend Carole Glasser Langille said she’s love dearly to take a working with you when she comes to Rhodes. Those of us who’ve worked in textiles for so long have seen that there is something about the process of working with cloth and needle to express ones inner voice, that is unparallelled. Something deep is touched. This is such important, healing work Sally.

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