Why Faakhir is dancing on air

Faakhir Bestman of Hanover Park with grandmother Ayesha Bestman and disabled sister Akeeda.
Image: ESA ALEXANDER

Faakhir Bestman has performed on the international stage and he has lost count of his accolades.

But dancing is not all he does. The 13-year-old boy loves cooking for his grandmother and caring for his disabled sister in their tiny council flat in gang-ridden Hanover Park in Cape Town.

Things are about to change for the teenager‚ though. He will be attending the National School of Arts in Johannesburg next year. But being the recipient of the inaugural Christopher Kindo Dance scholarship is bittersweet.

Although he desperately wants to dance to secure a better future for his grandmother Ayesha‚ 64‚ and his four siblings‚ he will miss them dearly.

“I want to take my ma away from here. I’m excited to see the school but …they did say that I would be able to visit in the school holidays‚” he said.

Ayesha’s love for her grandchildren is unwavering.

“My daughter just said to leave them but I have to look after them otherwise they would have been street children‚’’ she said.

She will miss her grandson but is adamant he should follow his dreams.

“He does anything for me. When I was sick he cooked for us. He just said: ‘Mamma‚ you rest‚ don’t you worry’‚’’ said Ayesha while cradling Akeeda‚ 9‚ who is disabled and cannot walk or speak.

Faakhir and Akeeda have a special bond. When gunshots ring out in the night he is the one to calm her down and she is happiest watching him dance in their small living room.

Despite the hardships‚ Faakhir is quietly confident and remained poised throughout the discussion about his short dancing career.

Last year Faakhir travelled to the US for a two-week course at the American Academy of Ballet in New York.

And in 2015 he performed at the Royal Ballet School in London.

Natalia da Roche‚ from the NGO Applaudz Arts Initiative‚ arranged the scholarship. They wanted to award a young male dancer from a marginalised community. She had seen an article on him being hailed as SA’s “Billy Elliot” and then contacted Abeedah Medel of the Eoan Group School of Performing Arts.

Said Medel: “I want my children to fly. The world is so much bigger than Cape Town.”

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