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DANCE4LIFE AMBASSADOR (article first published : 2007-10-24)

Tiësto, one of the world’s most famous DJ’s and a Dance4Life Ambassador, visited the JG Zuma Secondary School in KwaMashu recently to show his support and commitment for the Dance4Life South Africa (D4L SA) campaign, and to meet the young learners who are actively participating in the D4L SA Schools Programme. Tiësto is in South Africa as part of his World Elements of Life tour, and to compile a documentary about Dance4Life and the HIV prevention projects it supports in South Africa.

Dance4Life South Africa (D4L SA) is part of an expanding national and international movement which aims to actively involve young people in the battle against HIV and AIDS, in a way that is meaningful to them, by using a contemporary multimedia approach. The project aims to mobilise young people to become powerful ‘agents of change’ through edutainment, a mix of education and cultural and performance arts. D4L SA was officially launched in December 2005 and today some 1,500 South African youth are involved with this programme.

According to Marlijn van Berne, D4L SA Communications and Media Manager, “Dance4Life Ambassadors are credible public figures who are able to reach out to the youth and, through their icon status, can attract national and international media attention for Dance4Life programmes world-wide. A Dance4Life Ambassador believes in the Dance4Life concept and message, and represents as well as promotes Dance4Life on a national and international scale. We are so fortunate to have the world-renowned DJ Tiësto with us in Durban today, representing Dance4Life and seeing firsthand the South African Schools Programme in action.”

When asked why he chose to become a Dance4Life Ambassador, Tiësto said: “When I heard about Dance4Life, I was immediately hooked. I have been an Ambassador for Dance4Life for over a year now. Dance4Life is an organisation for youth, and their approach uses all aspects of youth culture – their language, music, dance, and media. Dance4Life’s message isn’t about telling young people what to do, it’s about giving them a choice, giving them the information and skills that they need in life and in pushing back HIV and AIDS. There are two important elements to my role as an International Ambassador of Dance4Life. Firstly, I give interviews all around the world, receive a lot of media coverage, and have an international fan base – and I use all of these opportunities to spread the Dance4Life slogan: start dancing, stop AIDS. I am literally an international billboard for Dance4Life.

“Secondly, I can use my music to help mobilise the youth, to get them actively involved in Dance4Life. For example, thousands of young people click on the link to the Dance4Life website from my website every year, where they have the opportunity to become involved.”

By World AIDS Day, December 1, 2014, D4L, the recognised youth component of the World AIDS Campaign, aims to be represented in 25 countries and 50 cities worldwide, with a total of one million young people as ‘agents of change’ all over the world. To date, D4L is represented in South Africa, the Netherlands, Kenya, Nigeria, Vietnam, Ethiopia, Germany, Russia, Tanzania, Ireland, Indonesia, Egypt and the United Kingdom. Each country is currently developing and implementing a D4L programme that is country-specific and culturally sensitive.

The D4L SA Schools Programme is aimed at learners in grades 8, 9 and10, and was implemented at 20 schools in KwaZulu-Natal and 10 schools in the Western Cape. The year’s programme is divided into two parts; Life Skills Training during the first half of the year, followed by the implementation of a Sexual Reproductive Health Advocacy Project during the latter half of the year.

At the culmination of the Life Skills Project, the participants present to their school peers and teachers, as a means of showcasing the skills they have learnt, through drama, dance and/or musical group performances, which draws from a sexual reproductive health issue pertinent to them and their community. The best performances will then be invited to present at the D4L SA thematic event/concert in Durban in 2008.

More information on Dance4Life South Africa at www.dance4lifesa.org.za




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