Igniting development and wellbeing through the creative arts

The pulse of Zakheni is the belief in the capacity and power of the creative arts to ignite transformation, development and wellbeing through the creative arts

Working creatively, we recognise beyond the trauma and pain that disturbs health, the inherent strength, resilience and resourcefulness within all human beings. Through moving, making, creating, enacting and playing, we encourage the health of the individual and the community or collective, to come into expression. We understand that the art forms themselves ensure the work is both deep and safe.

Our approach is not new, it is ancient. Human beings have always known that they need to gather, around fires, tell stories, dance, make rhythm and make art. It is what keeps us strong, connected to ourselves, each other and the environments we live and work in.  The creative arts therapies, although still relatively new as professions, are drawing on this embedded wisdom.

Zakheni is ensuring that the fires stay alight in communities, organisations and institutions by supporting them to tap into the transformative resource of their stories, as well as making the creative arts therapies profession and its services more visible and accessible to all.

Zakheni Arts Therapy Foundation was founded in 2001 and is an established registered NPO/PBO run on social enterprise values and focussed on making a social impact. It meets its mission through four Programmes.



The accessibility of creative arts therapies and applied arts services in the pursuit of health and wellbeing, growth and development of individuals and communities in South Africa



Ethical and professional delivery of a range of creative arts-based psychosocial and therapeutic services and capacity building programmes to individuals, groups, communities, organisations and social development institutions across South Africa



Zakheni Arts Therapy Foundation was founded in 2001 and is an established registered NPC/ run on social enterprise values and focussed on making a social impact in the wellbeing and human development of people. It meets its mission through the following programmes and services.



We offer accredited courses to organizations and individuals to strengthen the capacity of health, education and community development organisers, workers and professionals to deliver effective and creative arts- based psychosocial support services.

Courses offered include:

Fire Maker: 3 x 3-day workshops and a 10 session mentoring journey  designed to deepen the psychosocial support capacity of  youth and child care workers, social workers, auxiliary social workers. Accredited with 64 points by the HPCSA

Collecting Firewood: A 3 x3 day workshop and 10 mentoring sessions for 3 streams of workers in the ECD sector:  principals, staff and childminders with post matric qualifications/FET, matriculation and no formal qualification. To be accredited by the ETDP Seta.

Bright Sparks: 3x 3day workshop and 5 mentoring sessions for youth leaders and organisers. To be accredited by the ETDP Seta

Beyond Words: Is a 3- day workshop for qualified clinical social workers, occupational therapists,  clinical and educational psychologists, registered counsellors  in the use of arts based techniques in their work with children, youth and adults Accredited with 18 CEU points by Health Professions Council of South Africa

Creative Dialogue Facilitation Skills: A 5day and 3 community of practice sessions for multi-stakeholder process facilitators and mediators interested in bringing creative arts tools and trauma- informed approaches into their practices and processes. To be accredited by EDTP Seta.


As an effective organization in the field we actively promote the creative arts therapies and contextually relevant and indigenous wellbeing modalities through evaluation, research, strategic partnerships and peer learning circles.

We host dialogues, seminars, reflective practice and “thinking together” conversations where we generate grounded knowledge, explore contextually specific and mine and mind socio-cultural capital approaches to wellbeing. It is through the aforementioned that we set ourselves research questions for in depth investigations and host working conferences in partnership with respected collegial organisations in the field


We host creative arts therapy interns and counsellors, mentor artists interested in pursuing a career in the creative arts and applied arts for social cohesion. We seek to create job creation for Zakheni interns offering mentoring, coaching, supervision and in certain instances start-up funding for youth-led applied arts initiatives for healing in communities of need.


Wellbeing and Therapy Support

We provide group and individual psychological, emotional and creative arts therapy and counselling to enhance and support wellness and wellbeing. Group support services may take  the form of 3-day wellbeing process ( see our Wellbeing Process) ,   6 – 20 weekly creative arts therapy and counselling sessions and a performance or exhibition or creative arts output by the participants at the end of the process school (see our Creative Arts School Therapy Projects). We have a particular focus on: youth based at in residential care and in mental health facilities, women survivors of violence,  pre-release women in prison and groups experiencing discrimination of various forms: special needs , sexual orientation, xenophobia, bullying.

Dialogue Facilitation and Mediation

We contribute to dialogue, social inclusion and resolution in communities, organisations and institutions through the use of creative arts- based and trauma informed mediation supported by transformation theatre and storytelling.

Creative Change Management

Creative team tensions, difficult restructuring processes, leadership races and the need to adapt to 21st century was of working often require s to use more than reason and logic to make the necessary change. They often need us to use imagination, tap will and find the physical stamina to implement changes. Our arts-based methods and strategic review processes combine to engage teams and whole organisations to make the changes with heart and imagination. It helps an organisation process their change through facilitation, mediation and longer term individual and group process to animate decision-making during and post strategic reviews.

Bonfire Theatre  

is a one hour theatre performance  using stories shared, metaphor and play back theatre as part a facilitated process of building understanding in large group social dialogue, collaborative problem solving and solution seeking processes .Bonfire Performances  may be employed in difficult change processes or as part of meaningful fun team building retreats. Creative arts tools assist in building appreciation and affirmation, understanding and sensitivity in groups where shifts in thinking, feeling or attitudes may take place. ( see our Bonfire Theatre)