The Fellows



            Kim Berman


    Daniel Stompie Selibe

Hold the Spirit

By Daniel Stompie Selibe

        I think after two weeks APS was celebrating its ten-year anniversary. So Kim asked me if we would like to play for students. Then I realized why don't I use this opportunity to play with the students. Then we had a two-week session that they were practicing. I want you to realize that what we are going to do is a symbol of ubuntu -- where we are coming from with this. So we should notice that. They felt strong about that. The APS people were amazed by that kind of spirit. They said, what did you do with these guys? I didn't do anything. Just be with them, engage as much as possible with what they are going through. It's huge, just to stay with the feeling that evolves, to hold the spirit, to participate with them in the journey. Even if you don't understand all of it.
         There was the time of the performance and people were nervous; we were in the dressing room; I said you have to breathe in, breathe out, hold breath. Look at individuals, notice each other, notice ourselves. Think about what you have been going through with ubuntu. Just go and take this with them; There were 3 -4 guys who did poems based on ubuntu. We went on stage, I said I am going to be part of this process. I want everyone to be responsible; we are all leaders on this journey. I stood with one of the guys I had taught him to play a bit on the drum. The audience was silent.  I looked at him, he looked at me. It came out so beautifully, so powerfully. The audience was so amazed. Something powerful came out. They were dancing playing, reading poems. There was this joy. Sometimes it is hard to express it. It was there. It was happening. They felt that they did it. They felt the energy of individuals. The group knew what they wanted to be. Where are they going? What are they looking for in life? (Interview, Cynthia Cohen, 10/04)