Buntu Fihla

Many communities have slums, unemployed youth and wells of untapped creativity. So why not bring these together? That’s the role of Dlala Indima, a non-governmental organisation that uses the arts as a tool for social cohesion and community beautification. What started out as an artist residency concept in Phakamisa, near King William’s Town, grew into a labour of love for its founder, 31-year-old Buntu Fihla, a graphic designer and art director by trade and a creative force by reputation. Under Fihla’s guidance the creative team turned a drug den into an informal youth centre, painted murals and set up exhibitions and a core group of creative drivers. Today Dlala Indima, which means “playing your role”, is helping community members to do exactly that. When funding dried up the community donated their spare belongings. Today the space is well loved and used, hosting everything from study sessions and a DIY cinema to open discourse and dance groups. Fihla is still playing his role. — Cat Pritchard