Celebrating #girlpower at Norval Foundation

March 7, 2022

Above: Female Empowerment girls saluting the transformative power of art in front of a work by Esther Mahlangu

What better way to launch our 2022 Female Empowerment programme than a day of art, learning and fun for these bright, curious young women at the beautiful Norval Foundation in Cape Town…

Lalela’s Female Empowerment programme is focused on young women in high school. It aims to encourage female learners to remain in school, develop the confidence to excel in their academic studies and build the courage to dream beyond what is expected of them. Launched in 2015, the programme has become one of Lalela’s most successful initiatives, appealing as it does to a growing number of young women students due to its supportive, encouraging creative arts-based curriculum.

This year’s intake of girls from Silikamva High School in the township of Imizamo Yethu enjoyed their induction into the programme with a special and memorable outing to Norval Foundation.

Generously hosted by Norval Foundation’s Education Programme, the day started with a walk-about and discussion of the museum’s brilliant exhibition, ‘When Rain Clouds Gather: Black South African Women Artists from 1940 to 2000’.

Curated by Portia Malatjie and Nontobeko Ntombela, the exhibition presents the works of a cross-generational group of Black women artists, spanning from early Modernism to the contemporary period, and encourages reflection on the influential and often unacknowledged contributions of Black women to South African art history.

Above: The girls enjoying a guided-walk-about of the exhibition

“Our learners were inspired to think about the challenges the women artists may have experienced, as well as creating space to reflect upon their rights and challenges as young women at school and in their communities,” says Terri Dennis, Lalela’s Female Empowerment facilitator.

“The conversation led to the issue of limited toilets at their school and thus the horrible sanitary conditions that these young women have to deal with throughout the day. Soon, the discussion turned to the topic of the appropriate action that ought to be taken. They left the gallery space feeling energised, perhaps inspired to take action in their lives.”

Above: Time for a little post-lunch play in Norval Foundation’s inspiring sculpture garden.

After lunch in the sculpture garden, the girls reflected on their ​experience at the gallery with many of them expressing interest in specific artworks and the desire to develop their self-confidence through making art.

One of the students, Lucy, had this to say: “I really enjoyed the exhibition today. I saw lots of different artworks that really inspired me. I learnt about women in the olden-days and what they achieved through painting. So, it’s really inspiring because I also love painting and would like to become an artist. Most of all, I want to be an artist because I want to fight for women’s rights. And what I want to gain from Lalela is how to trust other people… and to learn how to be confident.”

A huge thank you to Norval Foundation!

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Your generosity makes it possible for Lalela’s educational arts programmes to create meaningful change that affects thousands of at-risk children in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Your generosity makes it possible for Lalela’s educational arts programmes to create meaningful change that affects thousands of at-risk children in Sub-Saharan Africa.




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