New mural adds splash of colour

During the course of last week, the Vrygrond Community Centre was given a fresh dash of colour when it was adorned with a mural conceptualised and painted by Libre Gutierrez.

Gutierrez is a renowned mural artist from Mexico and was asked by his friend Lygia Stebbing, who is from the Advance programme at the San Francisco State University, to create a mural that represents the young children in Vrygrond.

Stebbing and her team of 10 Early Childhood Care students are in South Africa on their sixth trip here, volunteering at True North, which is an NPO that partners with pre-school principals and teachers to provide loving, quality care to the young children in the community.

Project director at Vrygrond-based NGO Where Rainbows Meet, Kyle Cupido, says the local Early Childhood Development (ECD) Forum, led by Faranaaz Johnston, was instrumental in the coordination and inspiration of this wall.

“Everyone agreed that having something visual and beautiful to represent the children is what is needed in the community. Gutierrez does murals all over the world and is known to involve the community in the various phases of his projects. He believes that the shared experience creates ownership and a sense of pride in the artwork. This project has brought the community together in a wonderful and unexpected way, with youth from two local community organisations, Sozo and Communiversity, local children and groups of children from various pre-schools all taking time to paint,” says Cupido.

The wall, which is across from the local taxi rank, drew attention from many residents. Some children came running to hug the wall, and by day five, Cupido says strangers were walking up to the wall to take selfies.

“Beautiful local flowers, birds and children can be seen on the wall, as well as a beautiful rainbow running the length of the wall tying everything together. The rainbow is a symbol often used in Vrygrond and represents a promise of hope and joy and most of all community that loves one another,” Cupido adds.

Where Rainbows Meet, in association with Hillwood Primary School in Lavender Hill, also held a mini Soccer World Cup tournament to celebrate the international showpiece.

“With the entire school participating they competed grade by grade for two consecutive weeks and on Friday 27 July, we held the official prize-giving ceremony to celebrate the achievements of the learners,” explains Cupido.

He says the tournament was not only about the sport of football, but about discipline, self-confidence and teamwork, as part of the life skills and sports programme the organisation offers to the school on a daily basis.

“There were winners in each grade and each participant that won in their grade received a certificate and they also got to hold a replica World Cup trophy. The tournament was a huge success that was well received by the turnout during the tournament and Hillwood will continue to educate the learners through sport.”