Rock Girl visits the Soundhouse to create Digital Storybooks

On Friday, 25 May, students from Red River School visited the Soundhouse to create digital storybooks about their school, lives, and community.  Meryl van Noie, director of the Soundhouse, taught them how to use the equipment and they were soon drawing amazing stories.  In the following weeks, they will narrate the stories and add music and sound.  Many of the stories are incorporating the recent violence that occurred in Manenberg and its impact on the children and their community.  Watch this space to see their finished products!  A big thanks to Meryl for opening her doors to Rock Girl.

Rock Girl joins and Sam Scarborough revamp classrooms at Red River School

Rock Girl joins hands with Sam Scarborough to revamp classrooms at Red River School in Manenberg.  The grade 7 girls and boys united with teachers, parents, and staff over the school holidays to continue making their school cleaner and safer.  After much scrubbing, scraping, and sweeping, the paint brushes came out and the students got a lesson in mixing colors and painting murals from the pros.  With paint donated by Plascon and Cavendish Mall, the students turned dingy classrooms into vibrant learning spaces in a matter of hours.  Students from Reddam Atlantic Seaboard also joined in and Reddam will now partner with Red River to carry on this good work.  A huge thanks to everyone for such an amazing effort!  If you are interested in getting involved or would like to donate much needed school supplies to Red River, please contact India on or

“Paul du Toit is fun”

“Paul du Toit is fun!” Ferlin, a learner from Red River stated the views of her peers after Paul’s first visit to the school! For the last few weeks, Paul has been collaborating with some of the grade 7 leaners on a variety of painting projects. Paul told the kids who and what inspired him – including Jean Michel Basquit’s story – and told his own inspiring journey to become an artist.

Then the fun began. With paint donated by Plascon, the students learned how to make their own paint brushes  out of sticks and old sponges and to use them to create amazing art. Together, Paul and the kids created trucks, people, and crazy creatures. The smile on Josh\s face when he shared his truck with the group says it all. Art is fun and it feels wonderful to create and collaborate!

A few weeks later, Paul identified some of the most promising artists to collaborate with him on an interactive painting at the Kidults opening at Freeworld Design Centre. The boys worked on one large canvas and the girls tackled the other one. These works will be auctioned off online later this year to raise additional funds for Rock Girl and the Safe Spaces Campaign. Check them out – they are pretty special!

We all have dreams…

We all have dreams. Each day, we can do something that gets us closer to some of them. For the last few weeks, the Grade 7′s at Red River have been thinking about their own dreams – for their school, their community, their families, but most importantly, for themselves. This is their last year at Red River before they head to college – so Rock Girl has been working with them to think about how to make their dreams a reality.

Two years ago, when we began working with this same group of learners, we asked them to share their dreams. Many of them could not express them and quite a few wanted to be “Rihanna” or “Beyonce” or “Shakira”. Admirable but not easy. This time, after many months of working together to transform their school and community, these same young people shared dreams of “becoming a doctor or nurse so I can help sick people”, and “I want to be a lawyer then the president”, and “I want to be a better person”.

The learners wrote down some of these dreams and put them inside pillows made with fabric donated by the Silk and Cotton Company. They cut, sewed, and glued them together and could take them home to place on their beds. Sadly, a few asked us to keep their pillows as they would not be safe at home.

That’s my dream for now: To ensure that these children and all others are safe at home, at school, and on the streets. I’m going to put it under my pillow tonight.

So…What’s your dream?

Red River learners spent a few hours with Heath Nash

In late 2011, the Red River learners spent a few hours with Heath Nash, South Africa’s preeminent designer of gorgeous creations made from things from rubbish.  To participate, children had to bring in a brightly colored bottle or container from home.  Heath taught the learners how to cut the bottles into shapes to make chandeliers, light covers, and more.  Then he let the children go wild with the scissors and create their own designs.

With nothing more than a pair of scissors, plastic bottles, and a little imagination, the kids created Christmas ornaments, cars, irons, cups, bracelets, and even miniature stiletto heels.  When the “shoe designer” learned that being a shoe designer is a real career, you could almost see the lightbulbs going on in her head.  The children took their creations to the Freeworld Design Centre Christmas Market and sold them, along with paper mache bowls, to raise additional funds for art room supplies.  In early 2012, Heath will return to create two one-of-a-kind chandeliers with them.  One will have pride of place in the art room and the other will be auctioned off online to raise funds for Rock Girl.  Take a look at some of their work….