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In the year of 2001 a South African artist came to Amsterdam for an exhibition of his work.

We became friends and he invited me to visit his house in Umlazi Township. For one month i lived the township-life: one meal a day, washing from a bucket, a lot of people in a small house. Also I experienced typical customs like a Zulu wedding. It was a culture shock to me coming from the convenient western world, but it impressed me a lot.

Back in Holland I sold my house and put a bed and coffee-machine in my studio, where I live up until today, sleeping in between the art works, cooking on a two plate stove on a small table, only my bucket has become a shower.

To help children in South African's poorer regions, I founded in 2002 Xynergy Foundation. Since then I live a few times a year in South Africa, to work on projects of art and music to stimulate creativity and independant minds.

Xynergy Foundation for Art, Culture and Education in South Africa

This foundation is small and makes sure all input and financial resources will get to the children directly. Mostly sponsorship is from Holland, from companies, clubs and private sponsors.

Aim is to develop the children in the field where the school structure with its focus on the intellect can not: the truly creative field. Xynergy challenges the children to do new things, create something out of nothing and pass the border of their comfort zone.

This can be achieved simply by singing new songs, singing sounds without songs, learning new drum rhythms, painting a sound or a taste, drawing blind-folded, making paint in class, painting with hands no brushes etcetera. Very original creations occur.

The themes of art&music are mostly in the direction of nature and the elements, to bring the child in touch again with their own nature.

Achieved are: first of all original works that can be called art where the child is proud of, and an unforgettable experience.

Also achieved is on the mental level:understanding difference between arts and crafts, broader horizon of different perspectives, more confidence to approach something new, learning to work together as well as individual decision making = independant minds.


Schools & Organisations that we worked on in Kwa Zulu Natal:

Umlazi Township, Durban : schools in B-section, S-section and AA-section (2001,2002)

Durban : Durban University of Technology, Art Department (2001,2002)

Valley of thousand Hills : Gods Golden Acre Children's home (2006)

Champagne Valley : Drakensberg Boys Choir School (2006,2007), Champagne Valley School,  (2007-2010)

Winterton : Winterton Primary (2009)

Bergville : Bergville Combined School (2008-2009)

Kamberg Valley : Dabulamanzi, Tendela, Kilmor, Sibonoguhle (2003-2010)

Nottingham Road : Nootingham Road Combined School (2006-2013)

Mooi River : Bruntville School (2014)

Schools & Organisations that we worked on in Freestate:

Qua Qua /Puthaditjaba : Thiboloha Deaf & Blind School (2005,2007)

Bethlehem : Jordania School (2013)


Text from diary in February 2007:
'First weeks in South Africa are always good for organizing materials, telephones, camera's, as well as networking besides acclimatizing to the climate and culture.
Next challenge is Thiboloha School for Deaf, dumb and Blind children in Puthaditjaba (near Qua Qua) in the Freestate. We will certainly involve the drums, dancing and singing together before painting. To do this I bought a small portable sound system to guide us with CD's, as well as a few new music instruments: drums, bells and shakers. As these children are not exposed to much yet, and they are very thankful for new things, I'm very much looking forward to work with them!!!'
Lionah Chimara.

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