Kate Scanlan’s report on our big day at Southbank:
Day 2 was the day we due to take over Southbank’s Purcell Room, and boy did we. I’m actually a day late in posting this because ….It was a long day. With a lot of experiences that were quite over whelming for Didier. London is a non-stop city with a lot of people. I think that Day 2 was probably the day the shock of flying, riding in lifts and on trains hit. But, the little man did good and by the end of the day was on top form. For Willy Day 1 was about major new things (flying, lifts) but Day 2 was about people. He met so many people who were nice (including Nicola’s daughter Alex who spent the day and evening with us) and wanted to talk to him about his ideas, his film, his experiences in London and he danced with a lot of ladies! For Rafiki it has been an interesting day, he Faraz and Nicola spent time having meetings with foundations and charities that could support the future of Les Enfants de Dieu itself. With out continued and increased funding the centre will really struggle.
It was a big day
It was the first day we started to explore London. It was a big day because it was the day they were to see Pervez again for the first time since November. It was a big day because they were going to meet Billy Biznizz. It was a big day because ex-volunteer Ian Ellwood came to see us at our event. It was a big day because we shared Bret Syfert’s film Yes, Man!, talked to an audience about our lives and about hip hop and about the future and THEN held a big dance party with our audience. It was a big day because we were having so much fun we lost track of time and got home at 1.30am!
It was a fun day
Overall it was a very fun day and really fun is what brings light into darkness, brings people together, brings communities together, creates friendships and creates possibilities. There is a bit of a joke amongst my friends that Scandalous loves to party. Well yes I do, but for all those reasons I just listed. A good party with good people brings only goodness.
For now I’m going to let the photos do the talking ….
We kept this bench/crate a secret because we wanted this … to see beautiful reactions to seeing massive photos of the boys at Les Enfants de Dieu.
Look, that is me!
wow! Didier wants to know, ‘how did Kevin get here?’
wait till I tell the guys they are here in London!
We met Wendy Martin who welcomed us to the Southbank. Wendy is key to this all happening in London. Following a chat on a bus between her and I, she called me the next day to tell me about the Africa Utopia project and said lets do it! Wendy, her team, Nicola and I did just that. Big up Wendy!
We met Artistic Director Jude Kelly in her office. It was really nice to look out at London without all the chaotic sound for a bit. We saw the river Thames and decided we must take a boat trip.
We met Pervez again (yeahhhhhhh, this was so exciting) and we met Billy Biznizz (also too exciting for words)
In the midst of doing Africa Channel interviews for Sky (Nicola, Rafiki and Willy) we started the event itself. It went well. Willy and Didier were very articulate and the audience totally loved the film, Yes, Man! by the fantastic Bret Downroc Syfert. It was amazing to see it on the big screen
Jude Kelly was really positive about the project, about Willy and Didier and the leadership that they are already displaying and the role they are playing in their communities. She said we can learn much from them … agreed! She also said (and I jumped on this one) that she thought we should come back next year with more boys from the centre and develop the relationship. I said, thanks for that Jude, we accept!
then it was time to party
This photo deserves a bit more information. The travel bursary that Nicola and I were awarded to go on the first project to Rwanda last year was in memory of a wonderful person called Ellie Maxwell who founded a company, Firefly International whose mission is to create and sustain multi-ethnic youth projects in Bosnia and beyond. This is Pervez meeting Ellie’s mother Vivienne for the first time.
Friends and family came
(this is my mum and sister)
This is Ikem, one of Pervez’s students
Willy set up shop with my cousin Julie. They were selling beautiful handcrafted baskets, plates and jewelry made by a collective of Rwandan women. Willy’s mother, who has HIV, is partially crippled due to her illness. None the less she heads up the group of about 30 women, they meet each week to spend time together and create. The work is Bret and Dorota went to visit them recently and their blog post says it all. Read it here.
It is really beautiful and Willy did a fantastic job. Many people also gave donations to him for the womens’ group. I know that Willy’s mum will be so proud of him for helping; as he is proud of her.
Didier ended the night having a lot of fun
It was a long, big, fun day but it was amazing. DJ Didier ended the night with some scratching and we went home tired, happy and went to bed.
A big thank you to Bret Syfert for creating such an incredible film in the first place, and to Eric Biondo (Beyondo) for the original and flavorsome tracks, to Southbank Centre for having us, to our friends and families for supporting us, to Faraz and his family for creating such a centre in the first place, to Rafiki for his passion and enthusiasm for the boys and their future, and of course the most important people in the mix all of the former street boys living at Les Enfants de Dieu and back in their communities who asked for and made this project what it is. You are beautiful and amazing boys and it is a pleasure and a privilege to know you all.
Please follow our Catalyst Rwanda blog, Bret and Dorota’s blog, find us all on facebook and go and visit the Les Enfants de Dieu website. The centre needs your help so get in touch if you want to donate.