The tiny Karoo town of Richmond in the arid Northern Cape is not only home to thorn trees and tortoises. It’s also home to a flourishing dance troupe, one of a kind in the region, that is inspiring young people to accomplish greater things through the arts.

Kingdom Connected Campers, or KCC, was established in 2017 by Thys Bouwers, and is growing and thriving under the leadership of dancer and choreographer, Jermaine King. This group of about 100 participants was mobilised to serve as a beacon of light for people in an area that struggles with crime and drug abuse. The KCC is keeping locals motivated, inspiring and educating members on how to reach their professional and life goals.

“A day in a rehearsal room is the BEST. Everyday there’s passion, love and support  – the vibe is the BEST.”  Jermaine King, Leader and Choreographer

Jermaine told us his story, “I am from Johannesburg. One day me and Thys were chatting and he asked me what I was up to. I told him I was dancing; I am a dancer. He offered me a teaching position in Richmond, in the Karoo, and I jumped at the opportunity even though I didn’t know what to expect. Since I started teaching, we started growing, because I brought my passion, my love and my teaching skills. Being the lead in our dance group is a privilege and honour. I get the chance to express my passion and lead my dancers to their greatness while helping to change the mind-set of the young people and make them realise that there is more to life, that they can be someone important someday.”

“I can be myself and do what I love to do. I get exposure and recognition for my talents and I learn more about other people and cultures.” Ashley Ramantshane, Dancer

Sixteen-year-old dancer, Ashley Ramantshane, believes that perseverance and passion is key. “Never give up in life and always believe in yourself” he says wholeheartedly as he reveals that he wants to become a professional dancer.

 “I see the group making waves of change and their actions having positive ripple effects in people in the communities lives.  Jermaine King, Leader and Choreographer 

Jermaine has recognised the need for future leaders in today’s society and has created a powerful group just by recognising the potential talent in people’s hearts. The KCC serves as a talent-discovering and development organisation. They support and encourage many children to achieve their goals easier and with more fun! Through dance, KCC seeks to impact the community by providing relief to the poor, improving social welfare, preserving arts, culture and sports, promoting human rights and establishing civil society and creating future leaders.

Jermaine says, “Instead of seeing children occupied with crime and drugs, this group took the initiative to nurture these children into capable adults. Even though many do not have access to schooling resources, jislaaik there is no shortage of skills and talent.”

KCC is one of the Cape Town Carnival Community Group participants.  The #followyouheART initiative was developed to help local community groups gain more recognition and exposure and give the participants opportunities to perform.   

Encouraging people to follow their passion, showcase their art and be inspired by what makes them dance or sing, this initiative encourages you to #followyourheART #findyourgroup, especially during these isolating times.