Projects & Services

Zakheni Transformative Arts Centre 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.

Creative Arts Group Therapy Support Services

We provide group creative arts therapeutic approaches and counselling to enhance and support wellness and wellbeing. Group support services may take the form of our 6 –20 weekly creative arts and counselling/therapy sessions which may also include, a performance, exhibition or creative arts output by the participants at the end of the process. We have a particular focus on supporting children and young people especially in residential care in mental health facilities and school, survivors of violence, groups experiencing discrimination on the basis of special needs, sexual orientation, xenophobia, bullying and other isolating and socially exclusionary behaviours. The Creative Arts Therapies are fast growing professions in South Africa. Therapists are trained at Masters Level and register with the Health Professions Council of South Africa. Art, Drama, Music and Movement Therapists are clinically informed to use their specific creative medium to support the psychological and social wellbeing of individuals, groups and communities. The Arts Therapies have consistently proven to be effective in addressing individual difficulties as well as group dynamics. The creative arts therapies are founded on the premise that words are sometimes not enough to fully express the complexity of the human experience. The main focus of these modalities is the non-verbal mode of communication and the assumption that the creative process has potential healing properties. The focus is on every human being’s innate capacity for aliveness, health and well-being through movement, song, music, story and the symbolic representation of the self through drama. In a Creative Arts Therapy session, internal challenges are expressed creatively, and in this way can be safely processed and managed. The arts provide a safe, nonverbal means for expression where the client need not feel overwhelmed, and where a mind- body connection can be facilitated. Furthermore, the approach focuses on strengthening the healthy, creative aspect of the client. People of all abilities and ages can benefit from Creative Arts Therapy.

Living Well Encounter

Living Well is an encounter aimed at developing work-life balance providing tools for self-care. Its objective is to raise the sensitivity of individuals, groups and organisations regarding the need for resilience-inspired approaches to working within groups. This two day encounter can also be tailored to form part of staff development programmes and staff retreats. It encourages attitude change and provides user friendly skills to de-stress.

Dialogue, Facilitation, Meditation Services

We contribute to dialogue, social inclusion and resolution in organisations and communities, through the use of creative arts- based and trauma informed facilitation and mediation supported by transformation theatre and storytelling. Creative team tensions, difficult restructuring processes, leadership conflicts and the need to adapt to 21st century ways of working often require us to use more than reason and logic to make the necessary change. They often need us to use imagination, tap our 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

Bonfire Theatre Project

Bonfire Theatre Project is a one hour theatre performance using stories, shared metaphor, Play back and Forum theatre as part of 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 Project)

Research Project

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 forementioned that we set ourselves research questions for in depth investigations and host working conferences in partnership with respected collegial organisations in the field . Article originally published in the journal of Applied Arts and Health 5.3


Schools Transformative Arts Project

Schools Transformative Arts Project supports learners to build resilience by connecting with their healthy, creative side. The project consists of a 20 week engagement with a selected group of school based learners culminating in a Witnessing of their journey by 3-5 people invited by each learner. A creative arts therapist and an applied arts practioner co-facilitate the group sessions. A further Living Well Encounter session is conducted for the staff of the school Objectives are to: • Offer learners a safe context where they can express some of what they deal with at school • Support learner’s building resilience by connecting with their healthy, creative sides • Provide an opportunity to play and create therefore meeting some of their developmental needs • Offer mentoring opportunities to learners through the careful selection of facilitators Outcomes are: • Children learn to work with their stories and recreate self-images allowing a more functional identity to emerge • Children have the chance to express a wide range of emotions in a safe way • Children learn to master and express their emotions through creativity and artistry • Group work contributes to instilling a sense of belonging and offers the children a sense of mastery, power and purpose

Job Creation Support Service

We host and supervise creative arts therapy interns and counsellors seeking HPCSA registration. We mentor artists interested in pursuing a career in the creative arts and its healing abilities.