Our History

Photo Credit: Project Phakama


Project Phakama was set up in 1996 as an initiative of Lift (London International Festival of Theatre) in partnership with Sibikwa Community Theatre from Johannesburg – South Africa. Phakama means stand up, elevate, empower yourself in the Xhosa language. It was originally launched as an arts exchange programme involving young people and arts and        education practitioners from communities from South Africa and the UK. Since its inception, a programme of intense     cultural training combined with a series of adventurous public performances has blazed a trail of inspirational endeavour and left a legacy of networks and opportunities in its wake.

Now an independent charitable organisation based at Queen Mary University of London, Phakama continues to empower young people, believing that everyone has a story to tell.

In 2018 a book about the first twenty years of Phakama’s history was published – it is available on amazon or through the bloomsbury website.