It has been about two decades since the end of apartheid in South Africa but many of the cultural legacies of the brutal class system still linger. From a township in Kwa Zulu Natal the Ekhaya Multi Arts Center, and its resilient director Edmund Mhlongo, work hard to give the future voice of South Africa a strong foundation. Meet the young citizens of Kwa Mashu in this moving interview series hosted by Ekhaya’s VIBE FM youth radio station – from young preachers, singers, comedians, actors, brainiacs, and local DJs – learn the story of a contemporary South Africa; aware of the burdens of the past, for the graceful progression into a bright future.

K-CAP Multi Arts Centre

K-CAP Director Edmund Mhlongo on stage with a Kwa Mashu township representative during a local community performance at Ekhaya.


Built in the township of Kwa Mashu Ekhaya (meaning “home” in Zulu) is a strong extra-curricular space that offers the young minds of this township a space to flourish in the art of self-expression. The unique Ekhaya Multi Arts Centre (EMAC Centre) opened in September 2003. It is the vision of the Kwa Mashu Community Advancement Projects (K-CAP) for integrated arts development in Kwa Mashu Township – an urban renewal node as prioritised by President Mbeki in 2001.

The organisation recognized that there was a critical shortage of arts and culture related facilities for disadvantaged Kwa Zulu-Natal communities and identified Kwa Mashu as the most viable location for a multi-arts centre (Kwa Mashu was severely hit by political instability and violence during the 1980s and early 1990s – which led to many orphaned youth – yet the township is richest in arts and culture having produced best artists for screen, theatre, music and dance.

Ekhaya is a multi-purpose space for showcasing presentations and performances. This includes facilities such as Ekhaya Imagination Computer Lab (with Internet), recording studios, theatre hall, dance studio, workshop space, and editing multi-media suites and facilities. The centre involves the community in radio drama and creative script writing, video production, film festivals, traditional arts and cultural activities and African arts. The Ekhaya Multi Arts Centre offers a wide variety of programs each year.

©2017 National Black Programming Consortium, a 501(c)(3) non-profit arts organization. Phone: (212) 234-8200. 68 East 131st Street, 7th floor, Harlem, New York 10037.