The Pantsula Red Devils have been flying the South African flag high since last year after competing in France’s Got Talent reality competition.
The dancing group’s momentum has yet to slow down as they continue to receive invitations to perform all over the world. The group recently toured Paris again, attending the Animators French Carnival. One of the members has also received a training contract in Canada with the Cirque du Soleil.
While they make a name for themselves across the globe, it was their humble beginnings and a good Samaritan that helped propel them to where they are today.
“Ivory Park is an area that has a lot of gangsterism and when we started our group in 2005, we were lacking support because of the focus on gangsterism. A lot of young boys with talent lost their way,’ said group leader Solly Phahlamohlaka.
In 2010 while the crew was performing at taverns around the area, they started performing at the Ivory Park Taxi Association rank.
“Every year they have a braai for the passengers. So that year we decided to perform for them. Though we were a group, our uniform was not the same and one of the taxi association members, Johannes Mkhonza, called us to the side to offer us some help.”
It was that chance meeting with Mkhonza that led to a lasting friendship and sponsorship.
“He invited us to his offices and asked us what we needed and offered to help us. The following Monday after that meeting he gave us some money and asked us to get a quotation for our uniforms. He offered to sponsor our transport needs as well and helped us register our company and paid for our passports. Everything that we have now is because of his blessings and love for us,” said Phahlamohlaka.
Mkhonza is the chairperson of Santaco and for the last 11 years he has been a good Samaritan helping the pantsula group shine.
“He also contributed a lot to the schools here in Ivory Park. He has also been helping the people. Some people don’t like to show the things they do for others but we want to show him our gratitude for seeing potential in us.”
The Pantsula Red Devils is now made up of 22 talented young men and Phahlamohlaka said they were now also able to help the community because of the help they have received from Mkhonza.
“We can now donate food and other stuff to the community because of the love we got from Mkhonza. He played such an important role in our lives. I don’t know where we would be without him.”
Phahlamohlaka and his crew performed in Paris for three shows.
“One of our members has secured a 10-year Cirque du Soleil contract in Canada to teach people how to dance.”
Phahlamohlaka said everything they had achieved had been made possible by the kindness of Mkhonza.
“He uplifted us and saw our vision and for that we thank him.”