Fri, May 27, 2022

Games, change and 80’s social politics in South Africa

☼。◦°✰ During the late 80’s I joined an organization ‘Life in the Park.’ It was quite an experience, a very rich one. LITP was one of the many spirited projects the Durban Arts Council funded. 

  • Life in the Park took kids from about 20 schools around Durban and put them through a vigorous game playing program.
  • After 5 days of learning the philosophy of ‘playmanship,’ PLAY hard, PLAY fair, NOBODY hurt.
  • Two teenagers were selected as Games Leaders from each school. There were about 40 of us in total, rich, poor, black, white, colored, Indian and various other love children.
  • We organised events, called Fun Days in different communities around Durban.
  • During this time, I learnt the difficulties of being part of a mixed group that was learning how to work and socialise together. As a group, it was hard being accepted in public places such as the beach, supermarkets and streets in white suburbs.
  • When we were due to perform in Umlazi the police prevented us from doing so as they said that we would not be safe.
  • In Newlands East and Albert Park, I met women whose husbands were being detained. They had no idea where they were or how long they would be imprisoned for. I listened to these stories in disbelief.
  • When I met my first interracial couple at the Addington Beach Fun Day, I realized that I needed to be more sceptical of the world around me. Interracial relationships were illegal, people could not only be jailed for this blending but were often murdered too.
  • When D’Arts stopped funding this amazing project it pretty much fell apart.
  • Working with two drama teachers, Chantal Snyman and Michelle ‘Shelly’ Haggard, we exposed people to the power of games philosophy. The photographs included here are from an event we did in the 90’s.
  • Life in the Park created a space where people young and old rediscover how great it is to have a randomly good time laughing, playing together and shifting comfort zones.



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Chantal Snyman Oct 19, 2010 at 7:18 am

Ah Lee, these are such good memories…such a pure time, so filled with passion and the desire to build bridges, illuminate the beauty that each person and child inherently holds…highlight the possibilities within and without…indeed, Life in the Park…Life is a Park :-)…what’s stopping us?

    leoniehall Oct 19, 2010 at 8:43 am

    Awr I’m so glad you read it!
    Yaaa….you want to? we could you know…..”WISHFULLY SAID”

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