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Klein Karoo YOUPSA children transformed two buildings. Photos supplied

Two groups of children in De Rust, at the gateway to South Africa’s Klein Karoo, have completed a major mural art project over three days that’s transformed their neighbourhoods and lifted their spirits. One nine-year old girl from Blomnek said: “This was my most special experience ever. I did not know that I could create something so beautiful together with my friends.” YOUPSA (Youth Potential SA) Director Alexis Joy tells us more about this beautiful project…

Children are the Community’s Best Artists… by Alexis Joy

Children are the heart of every community, and a little known fact is that they are the best artists. Even very famous artists find their inspiration from children’s art. During these past few days, the children of the De Rust area designed and created mural art on the walls of two different buildings. What a fabulous event this was – focused solely on the children’s individual potential.

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The De Rust education Non-profit Organisation ‘Youth Potential South Africa – YOUPSA’ offers weekly literacy and after-school enrichment programmes to disadvantaged rural children on farms as well as in the township Blomnek. YOUPSA invited and partnered with Flowers for Africa, a Cape Town based art organisation that paints murals with disadvantaged kids in their communities throughout South Africa.

Creating something big and vibrant in their own neighbourhood was such a transformative experience for the children and for the entire De Rust community.

Flowers for Africa Founder & Artist Luc van der Walt said: “Our passion is to provide children with self-esteem building opportunities by giving them the platform to create something big and beautiful, that also uplifts everyone who sees it.”

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One group of around 20 YOUPSA farm children ages 7 – 12 painted a mural in Nelsrivier, and another group of YOUPSA children painted their mural in Blomnek. Workshops were facilitated for the children to learn how to use paintbrushes and rollers, and how to apply paint on the wall. They also spent time designing their own unique flowers on paper and then transferred these to the wall.

This is public art, created by children on two very visible buildings – a special gift for everyone living in or visiting the De Rust area. Creating something big and vibrant in their own neighbourhood was such a transformative experience for the children and for the entire De Rust community.

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Many different people from around De Rust were involved in supporting the children to create these murals. Some people mixed colours and handed the paint pots to the kids on the ladders, while others held or moved the ladders. Someone made delicious cupcakes, others brought homemade pizza, and another taught dance to the children. When the community comes together to put children first, magic happens!

Ray Schöne, Co-founder and Director of YOUPSA says, “Our focus is to give children the opportunity to lead and express themselves freely. During the entire project, children did everything themselves, from start to finish. Adults only provided the materials, mixed the different paint colours and gave guidance when asked.

For more information about YOUPSA’s work visit their website, and Facebook page or contact Ray Schöne: 076 1233832 or email

The art organisation Flowers for Africa has a Facebook page, too.