Project Phakama began in 1996 as an initiative of LIFT (London International Festival of Theatre). It was an arts exchange programme involving young people and arts and education practitioners from South Africa and the UK.
At the heart of Project Phakama is the belief that, irrespective of differences in age, experience or culture, creative responsibility can be shared equally. Each participant's experience and imagination is another starting point for an unpredictable creative process which allows young people to engage with their communities in imaginative new ways.
Phakama's programme of intense cultural training and adventurous public performances has inspired many and created a growing international network of young peoples' art and performance. Phakama projects now exist in South Africa, India, Argentina and Brazil.
Project Phakama, UK, became an independent organisation in 2005 when Barbara Heinzen was asked to chair their board, which she did for the next seven years. Phakama UK has two distinguished patrons: choreographer, William Forsythe, and the poet, Benjamin Zephaniah.