Xolile Madinda is a man of many talents not only is he an accomplished playwright, community activist, and passionate rapper, he is also the founder of the Save Our Schools and Community, and the driving force behind the annual Fingo Festival, to name but a few. It’s a testament to his passion for the growth of the communities around Port Elizabeth and Grahamstown in the Eastern Cape.
Xolile’s life revolves around community activism, something he says is fun- damental to achieving ultimate freedom for the community.
“We have to lead ourselves in our communities and build our [them] from the inside out. Community activism is about not giving our power over to the state and its machinery. The state must respond to who we are, we cannot be directed from above, that is not freedom,” he said in a recent interview.
One of the important ways he sees this kind of freedom coming into fruition is through education, and he founded the Save Our Schools and Community to help with the transformation in the public schooling system by addressing the key issues that is keeping the youth from having access to quality education.
The arts also play a major part in his efforts to empower the community, and the Fingo Festival, now in its sixth year, promotes creative skills development within the community of Fingo in the Eastern Cape.
“The arts speak the creative elements of the human soul. When arts is free, it gives you a sense of life, you can express so much creatively, connect with others through it.
“Currently Fingo Festival is exploring a range of creative forms from cartooning, doing murals, children’s theatre, and story-telling. We want to develop and deepen our skills in these areas and not just host the Fingo Festival once a year,“ he said about his goals for the festival.”
Of course nothing worth pursuing comes without challenges, and to Xolile, finding resources such as funding and access to venues to host events and workshops, are some of his biggest concerns. But he says it’s not just material concerns that prove challenging,
“Within community arts, there is also the challenge of artists having low capacity to produce because they have not had sufficient technical training and so sometimes we may have money, but producing at a high level is tough due to lack of training.”
Despite these challenges, Xolile Madinda’s efforts in uplifting and empowering his community through art and education are starting to bear fruit, and youngsters from the team are growing in stature, taking on greater responsibilities by managing events in their communities.
Seeing this type of growth is a highlight and source of great pride for Xolile, and inspires him to look for even more ways to empower the community he is so passionate about.