#TGA – THE GENERAL ARMY PROJECT
In honour of Kudakwashe Pwiti AKA Di Apprentice – The African General – #TGA The General Army project was created to help raise awareness about the link between Drug addiction, mental health disorders and suicide, while actively engaging in projects, and events that utilise prevention as the most powerful step toward a positive change that can save lives.
#TGA was founded by Kuda’s wife Catherine Pwiti, and twin sister Tinashe Pwiti, after Kuda’s tragic suicide on January 5th 2016. Kuda’s struggle with mental illness began at an early age, but having been raised in Zimbabwe – a country where mental illness is unrecognised Kuda’s only outlet for relief from his inner turmoil was to engage in self-medicating drug use. Unable to deal with the idea of mental illness himself, drugs continued to be his coping strategy throughout his early adult life, which gradually worsened as his drug of choice shifted from marijuana to ICE, and lead to a spiralling decline as his mental health issues intensified and his behaviour became increasing destructive and dangerous to himself and to those closest to him. At only 27 years of age, with a four year old son, Cristiano, and a promising career ahead of him as a rising international Dancehall/Zim Dancehall star, Kuda – while under the influence of methamphetamine, made the final decision to end his life.
In the aftermath of his death it is true that we will never know why Kuda, along with so many other young men, and woman make the defining decision to end their lives. What we can do, though – as survivors of suicide – is unite together to help prevent this happening to other precious lives and tackle the undeniable combination of factors that result in these tragedies, the multifaceted layers of social stigma, a lack of education and resources, undiagnosed and untreated mental health disorders, and substance abuse, that lead to Kuda’s senseless death.
Whether it’s educating young people of the harmful effects of ICE and preventing them from using it in the first place, or engaging people in positive, creative activities that promote a healthy mind and lifestyle, or advocating for men to end the stigma of mental health disorders and learn to talk about their problems. Whatever can make a positive change and save lives, #TGA will be there to honour Kuda and ensure his life did not end in vain, and that his legacy will live on to inspire and empower the next generation.
In 2017 our aim is to initiate three key programs to achieve our three main goals for #TGA which are to:
- Raise awareness about the link between drug abuse, mental health, and suicide
- Prevent young people from using illicit drugs such as methamphetamine (ICE/Crystal meth) and,
- To promote social unity and individual holistic health through engaging in dance, music, and cultural activities
The programs we are raising funds for in 2017 are:
1) #TGA Dance – Utilising dance as our medium we will engage young people of diverse backgrounds in a series of workshops, mentoring, and performance outcomes that aim to prevent at risk behaviour and encourage holistic health and community engagement, as well as the development of leadership skills to encourage participants to become positive role models for their peers. These workshops will be delivered in Australia, Jamaica, and African countries – with a focus on Zimbabwe. The link between these destinations is Kuda’s legacy and the reason we are focusing our efforts here is to address the complex layers of social and cultural issues faced by young people of African descent – across the African diaspora – that lead Kuda to his fate. Through his story we hope to help others from similar backgrounds overcome the barriers they face, while becoming positive role models for their broader community and spreading the message of ‘one love’ through dance
2) #TGA Music – Utilising Kuda’s massive catalogue of unreleased music we will release an album to share his story and raise awareness about the devastating effects of self-medicating drug abuse and the need for men to speak out and start talking about mental health and what it means to be a positive male role model in our world today.
3) #TGA Culture – To make change we need to start the conversation and understand the past to create a better tomorrow. In 2017 our ‘Real Man Talk’ program will focus on creating support groups for young boys, and families who have experienced trauma due to drug abuse, domestic violence, and/or suicide. These sessions will be facilitated by professionals and will include a variety of therapies with focus on dance, music and art therapy to address after effect of having lost a loved one and/or experiencing trauma at the hands of a loved one, as well as teaching the next generation of men and women how to express their emotions positively and effectively.
The more money raised the more wider our reach and the more individuals and communities we can support. Help us to dance a new dance, sing a new song, break the chains and stand together. Kuda’s legacy is to teach us that pure love and a pure heart is what we need to value more then wealth, more than material status. Together we can make a change for the next generation and stand together as ‘Real Friends’ – Let us shine together as The General Army #TGA
If Kuda’s story speaks out to you – whether you have struggled with mental health and don’t feel comfortable talking about it, or you have struggled with addiction, feel isolated, or had suicidal thoughts, or you know someone who has – then there are many ways you can get involved and join The General Army.
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and make it happen today!
Culture Queenz is an ALL FEMALE, Multicultural, Multi-talented, first Afro-beats and Dancehall dance group in Melbourne, who were founded through a dance program created by Brimbank Youth Services. After two years running this program with many great performance outcomes and the production of their very own music video, Culture Queenz has now become an independent youth lead project, facilitated by Jungle City projects.
With a membership of approximately ten young women aged 14 – 18 from the western suburbs of Melbourne, Culture Queenz meet weekly for dance practice where they are mentored by Jungle City dance instructors and develop showcase routines in the style of Afro-Beats and Dancehall. All members share a common love for dance and music, and together continually build self-confidence, self-determination, inclusiveness and a strong team spirit that filters into every aspect of their lives.
Now an independent youth dance group Culture Queenz have big dreams for the future of their crew and will be opening up auditions in 2016 for new members to join who share the same philosophy and dedication. So if you or someone you know might be interested in joining, or if you would like to make a donation to the group to help keep this project alive please get in touch via email at email@example.com
Check out Culture Queenz in the following videos