'Zip Zap changed my life' - young performers reflect on leaving streets behind

The Zip Zap Circus School has transformed the lives of many young people in the Cape.

The oldest circus in Cape Town has devoted itself to inspiring and empowering young people to do better for themselves and society.

Budding circus performers and former street kids Phelani Ndakrokra and Jacobus Claasen opened up about how Zip Zap changed the course of their lives.

The 22-year-old Ndakrokra was born and raised on the streets and moved into a shelter in Salt River after 15 years on the streets.

That is when he was introduced to the Zip Zap circus in 2010.

He has since become an instructor and programme coordinator, specialising in juggling, acrobatics, straps and the Cyr wheel.

Read: Zip Zap Circus School helping Cape kids soar to greater heights

I grew up with a life that no kid would want. It was difficult and I had to choose between right and wrong.

Phelani Ndakrokra, performer at Zip Zap circus

I was born on the street and stayed there for 15 years.

Phelani Ndakrokra, performer at Zip Zap circus

It was life-changing. They introduced me to the circus in 2010. That was when I was free and felt like a kid again.

Phelani Ndakrokra, performer at Zip Zap circus

Also read: How Zip Zap Circus School got to perform for Obama (and what's to come)

Claasen also grew up on the streets in Paarl before moving to a shelter in Wellington and later relocating to Cape Town.

He specialises in flying, clowning and acrobatics.

We had to make tough choices between drugs and a healthy life. It wasn't easy taking care of yourself while living on the streets.

Jacobus Claasen, performer at Zip Zap circus

I used to be part of the gangs when I was out on the street. One day I saw something happen and I told myself I'm going to make a choice.

Jacobus Claasen, performer at Zip Zap circus

Since I came to Cape Town, I told myself that I don't want anything to do with drugs or gangsterism.

Jacobus Claasen, performer at Zip Zap circus

I got to be in Zip Zap and Zip Zap changed my life.

Jacobus Claasen, performer at Zip Zap circus

The choices we've made in life were a success for both of us.

Jacobus Claasen, performer at Zip Zap circus

The pair spoke about the circus skills and life skills that they have learnt through Zip Zap and the international exposure they've received through their performance.

Take a listen to their inspiring stories:


Recommended

by NEWSROOM AI
Read More
Global workshop offers ideas on how to build a water resilient Cape Town

Global workshop offers ideas on how to build a water resilient Cape Town

100 Resilient Cities is a project which helps cities worldwide become more resilient to social, economic and climate challenges.

Dignity SA suspects murder case was prompted by those against assisted dying

Dignity SA suspects murder case was prompted by those against assisted dying

The founder of right-to-die organisation, Dignity SA, was arrested for allegedly assisting a friend to take their life in 2013.

You're unlikely to find appliance spares eight years after buying - Hirsch's CEO

You're unlikely to find appliance spares eight years after buying - Hirsch's CEO

For how many years should manufacturers or retailers keep spare parts after you have bought a product? ConsumerTalk investigates.

[LISTEN] Mother of three opens up about perinatal depression

[LISTEN] Mother of three opens up about perinatal depression

Pregnancy and the transition to motherhood can cause stress for many women. This can negatively affect their psychological health.

Concourt ruling on cannabis needs to filter down to cops, says dagga couple

Concourt ruling on cannabis needs to filter down to cops, says dagga couple

Myrtle Clark and Julian Stobbs, dubbed the dagga couple, have been trying for years to have dagga legalised.

60 theft victims to sue FNB for R121m for stolen safety deposit boxes

60 theft victims to sue FNB for R121m for stolen safety deposit boxes

The victims claim FNB didn't implement adequate security measures before the robberies and refused to offer fair compensation.

Popular articles
'My hubby is 75 and we still do it' - stories about sex on the other side of 50

'My hubby is 75 and we still do it' - stories about sex on the other side of 50

Is biology putting the brakes on your sexuality? Callers share their experiences of sex and growing older.

'Some weed plants with high levels of chemicals have been linked to psychosis'

'Some weed plants with high levels of chemicals have been linked to psychosis'

Naked Scientist, Chris Smith shares his insights on some of the risks associated with smoking marijuana.

How to get rich by investing in smoking hot US and Canadian dagga shares

How to get rich by investing in smoking hot US and Canadian dagga shares

Returns of 500% are not unheard of. Is this another crypto-like bubble? Not in the least, says Financial Advisor Warren Ingram.

[Watch] Dad breaks down when reunited with car sold to pay wife’s bills

[Watch] Dad breaks down when reunited with car sold to pay wife’s bills

Khabazela shares some of the most popular tweets, posts, and videos on 'What's gone viral'.

'It is quite a milestone, it is a humbling experience'

'It is quite a milestone, it is a humbling experience'

Cosatu President Zingiswa Losi says being elected is a milestone not only for the women of SA but also for the women of Africa.

DStv Premium on a downward spiral, warns tech guru

DStv Premium on a downward spiral, warns tech guru

DStv has lost about 140 000 Premium subscribers to Netflix over the past two years, tech expert Arthur Goldstuck.

[LISTEN] 'Lesufi has been attacking Afrikaans schools since 2014'

[LISTEN] 'Lesufi has been attacking Afrikaans schools since 2014'

The Freedom Front Plus says the Gauteng Education MEC has flouted school language policies and is destroying Afrikaans.

'My daughter bought Spur shares when she was 10 years old' - Dr Adrian Saville

'My daughter bought Spur shares when she was 10 years old' - Dr Adrian Saville

What does Citadel’s famed disciple of contrarian, deep-value investing Dr Adrian Saville hope for (and fear) about money?