Happy feet stomped and danced across the small open garage to the beat of a drum. Swirling and sashaying, children of the Langa Township, from 3 to 18 years, stomped and chanted and shouted and sang song after song. First the youngest, then the oldest, then all together as they sang the South African National Anthem, loud and clear. We stood just outside the garage watching the children perform, enraptured with their energy, enthusiasm and excitement. Their smiles infectious, we never stopped smiling ourselves.
Turning our hands over and over, little girls touched and stroked our palms, shyly at first. They held our hands and touched our straw colored long hair, so different from their own black hair, kinky and cut short, so short that sometimes it was difficult to tell the boys from the girls. Together we watched the others singing and dancing, the girls, in a circle and in a line, using their hands and knees and feet to dance to the beat of the drum. The boys wore rubber miner boots, stomping and clapping against the boots with their hands in rhythm and in sync.
Siviwe, our township tour guide, directs the Happy Feet Youth Project from the Langa Township in Cape Town, South Africa. While instilling in the children a purpose and hope, he provides the kids with something to do after school. He feeds the children snacks, teaches dance and song routines, provides instruments and props, gives the children uniforms, and brings them to competitions around the country.
We clapped and clapped to the beaming, smiling faces, so proud and so happy. We waved and left the township, smiling ourselves, infected by the joy and hope of these children.
Photo on this post by Tommy Taft.