Pule Lechoba grew up withouth a father. His mother was an alcoholic who didn't talk much, she never taught him what was important in life or what values to cling to.
"I didn't really have a relationship with my mom. She got very ill and I had to take care of her myself before I even was a teenager. I had to do all the cooking, I washed her, everything. I stopped going to school for a year and a half. At the age of thirteen I began to stay at a shelter for street children during the week and weekends I would go home. When I was fourteen I came home one night and found my mom worse whan ever. I wanted to call the neighbors, but I knew if I left she might die alone. So I stayed. I held her and watched her die in my arms."
Now Pule was homeless and he moved to the shelter permanently. He was very sad but acted like he didn't care. He was even rebellious at times.
Then he heard about Karos & Kambro and the choir and he wanted to join. Karos & Kambro was the only activity after school and it sounded like fun. Soon Karos & Kambro became a place of belonging for Pule, a big family, like the one he didn't have.
Karos & Kambro gave Pule a new perspective on life. He realised for the first time that he could have his own dream. He always wanted to fulfil his mother's dream and his promise to her to finish school, which he did.
Today Pule is one of the top facilitators of Karos & Kambro. He has two sons and he is determined to follow his dream to make a positive difference in society, teaching vulnerable and neglected youngsters not to waste their lives with negative and wrong choices, but to follow a positive dream and to stick to it, no matter what...
Born in Oudtshoorn in the Klein Karoo William Phillipus' story starts similar to that of Pule and Kingsley growing up with an absent father. And so William learned that he had to take care of himself if he wanted to get anywhere in life. And that it is the strongest that survive in the jungle. He had to get a job as golf caddy at a young age to earn extra money. And so he learned the tricks of the jungle quite early...
With only his golf caddy friends as role models, William started early on the road of alcohol, drugs and sex. He became part of the Americans Gang, and violence became a way of life. Fighting other gangs... Soon he was addicted to cigarettes and alcohol, using mandrax and even stealing.
Most of his friends left school and ended up in jail. William's life was a mess. Somehow he managed to scrape through matric.
Just as all hope was lost, William met God and his life changed. He decided to walk in the opposite direction than before and use his leadership skills and his character to make a difference in society.
During this time, he heard of Karos & Kambro and did an audition. As he learned more about the project, he bought into the vision and mission.
As a boy, William used to love the drama world and would go to productions on his own. Usually his mom would give him a good hiding because he didn't tell her where he went...
Today, William Phillipus is the project leader of Karos & Kambro in the Western Cape, performing annually at the Klein Karoo Arts Festival, for international guests as well as doing Educational Theatre productions for disadvantaged communities, farm workers, vulnerable and at-risk school children. He and the other performers in his group were broadcasted several times on national television, received much acclaim, standing ovations and good media reviews and he knows he is in the right place now, doing what he is meant to do: making a positive difference.
Kingsley Beukes grew up in Promosa near Potchefstroom a place where young people and teenagers love to dance. In this small little coloured township the big dream of becoming a dancer grew in Kingsleys heart...
But like with Pule, his dad wasn't really there for him during his childhood. He worked in another town, and as a young boy Kingsley was mostly living with his mom. This is where his identity questions started – and with a father who was never there when Kingsley wanted to ask some of life's most important questions. As a young boy Kingsley somehow always felt he needed to take responsibility for his little twin brothers, and become somewhat of a father figure to them.
Kingsley became part of Karos and Kambro when he was 16, he joined Karos & Kambro as an escape, but it quickly became more than that. He soon realised how much he loved dancing and the arts, and it became a dream he was willing to sacrifice a lot for. His years in Karos & Kambro taught Kingsley a lot about life and about pursuing his dreams. The group became his family and support structure, and in the process, his identity started to fall into place as well.
Kingsley's identity as a dancer and as person was even more firmly grounded during the year he spent with the performing arts company 13th Floor, an opportunity he got through Karos & Kambro. Here he realised who he is and that dancing was what he wanted to do with his life.
Kingsley's parents had big dreams for their eldest son. They wanted him to become a doctor or a lawyer, to go overseas and make a lot of money. Therefore, they were not too happy at first when Kingsley told them he was going to make a career of dancing. After seeing their son perform, their hearts changed, and they are now supporting him.
Kingsley concluded his National Dance Diploma at TUT in 2011 – where he was part of an award winning dance group: World Champions Gold. He got acclaim and recognition wherever he performs, and is currently starting his dance career with the Tshwane Dance Theatre Company.
For Kingsley it is important to know who he is and where he is going, to live as an example of excellence to his brothers and the community where he came from. For him dancing has become a way of reaching people, of portraying positive messages and living with purpose. This is how he makes a difference.