Spirit of Light
On 20th May 2016, the Gcinamasiko Arts and Heritage Trust in partnership with the Turquoise Harmony Institute and JT Communication Solutions hosted the inspirational Spirit of Light event at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Sandton. Now in its 5th year, the event is a celebration of hope and social cohension and aims to engage people from different faiths and cultural backgrounds in conversations that focus on fostering positive, collabrative relations and a deeper understanding of all communities in South Africa. Conceived and hosted by author, actress, poet, and storyteller Gcina Mhlophe and the Gcinamasiko Arts and Heritage Trust, the Spirit of Light event was originally celebrated on Women’s Day, in Durban and was intended to inspire, motivate and encourage people in general and women in particular to achieve their dreams. Women from all walks of life have attended and shared “how they are shining a light in their community”. Over the years it has grown more inclusive also inviting men and the youth to share their experiences.
This year’s Spirit of Light celebration has an extensive line-up of noteworthy speakers with the keynote address delivered by Dr Brigalia Bam. Mhlophe will be joined in performance with South Africa’s first female praise poet, the internationally renowned Jessica Mbangeni, acclaimed choreographer and dancer David Matamela, and the expectionally talented vocalist Khanyo. One of the highlights of the event was a presentation by a group of young men, who call themselves “I See A Different You”. This collective of Soweto born Creative’s sought to change the world’s view of Africa from the negative to the positive. “As Africans our story has always been told by others and as I See A Different You we want to tell our own stories through Art” says Neo Masigo, one of the founders of the company.
The partnership between the Gcinamasiko Arts and Heritage Trust, the Turquoise Harmony Institute www.turquoise.org.za and JT Communication Solutions www.jtcomms.co.za was developed to promote greater dialogue across communities. The Turquoise Harmony Institute is an interfaith organisation, established to foster relations among different faith and cultural traditions to contribute to the well being of humanity. They facilitate and engage in activities that are aimed at stimulating critical thinking and analysis of affairs affecting the lives of all people. JT Communication Solutions actively communicates a new African Narrative that is not plagued with poverty and failed states. Vanessa Perumal of JT Communication Solutions argues that África’s story is positive and that is where the focus should be.
“We host the Spirit of Light celebration because Africans are people of the Sun; we have a positive energy that is uniquely ours. Many people cannot fathom how we manage to dance and laugh with the rising sun, after all the rivers of tears we have been through! Hope is the light that shines in our eyes, propelling us to a better tomorrow,” says Mhlophe, founder of the Gcinamasiko Arts and Heritage Trust.