Meet the Team

Felicity Keats Morrison

Right brain creative writing is my particular interest. I am proud to say that my committed team of trainers, editors, typesetters and graphic designers, that you are about to meet, are all exponents of the right brain philosophy.

This is a happy positive side of ourselves that never expects to fail, and where anything is possible – like building a new society of literate young with dreams  in which they aspire to achieve great things that will not only alter their own lives but assist the rest of the community, the country and the world at large.

Personally, I fell in love with writing more than 50 years ago and have had an exciting writing career that entailed taking writing courses in all genre, and putting them into practical use by getting published. I have also been an editor, a  children’s author, and an adult fiction writer though my most important contribution is in the books I have written on right brain creative writing that can train learners and teachers in schools on the use of the right brain method.

Our combined achievements through Dancing Pencils are many. Perhaps one of the most important is in becoming partners with the KwaZulu-Natal Office of the Premier with the intention of raising reading and writing levels in schools through setting up Dancing Pencils Writing Clubs in each district. This entailed  training teachers and learners non-judgmental, non-critical right brain creative writing with its huge benefits. You can read more about this method and its successes in other slots that we have.

On a personal level, I have four adult children, living in a various overseas countries, and  all are highly qualified professionals in very different spheres.  I have 11 grandchildren, all of whom are authors. (I caught them young!) I have watched their progress in their various countries and am proud of their high academic and sporting achievements and,  to myself, I say that a large part of this success was learning to use the right side of their brains when still young. As this is a life skill and with problem solving abilities, it is there to help each person in his or her life.

Besides my own personal family, I also have a very large family of young and old, of different nationalities that I dearly love. These are all the people I have mentored or whose lives have in some way touched mine.

In today’s society we all desire to succeed. If that success is on a win-win basis, the hard work we put into being the best we can, on an ethical and moral level as well as spiritual and intellectual, will give us great joy. This I consider to be the true measure of success!

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detlefcropDetlev Diegel

Detlev Diegel was born in New Zealand, educated in the USA and Canada, and speaks English, German, French and Spanish. He is a student of philosophy, and an avid reader with a tremendous interest in thought,  the written word,  the world and its people.

AS a keen toastmaster, with a quirky sense of humour, he is an entertaining speaker.  With his deep interest in people, he makes an ideal Mentor. He is also interested in poetry.

Because of the fragility of thought, people with a longing to SAY something in the written form, need a caring mentor who is able to help them to release the spirit of that poem or story that hovers within. Detlev is such a person.

Detlev has been valuable  in the new premier’s priority project with his assistance at training’s in rural areas. With his huge interest in the developing minds of young people, he has been instrumental in helping to develop the first anthologies of stories recently launched at the ICC with present launches in rural areas.  His ability to pick an apt and appealing title gives the books that extra sparkle.

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Vera Castleman

1983. The dawn of personal computing was breaking in South Africa. The Education Department was offering a part time computer course to a small group of teachers.

I was a maths teacher. One day my matric class was working on past papers to prepare them for the finals. A learner requested help on a geometric rider. A thought buzzed around my head, “If I have to explain this problem one more time I will explode!”

This was quickly followed by another thought, “Be calm. You have seen this a 100 times but this learner is seeing it for the first time.”

A light bulb went off in my head and I realised that I had to change direction. I was a teacher, I loved teaching and I knew I was good at it but the subject content was now “old hat” I needed something challenging. I applied for the computer course. I sat an aptitude test and two years later I was the proud possessor of an FDE (Honours) in computing.

The world of computing satisfied my entire persona. I was a creative, logical person. Maths only drew on my logical side so I found some limited outlets to my creative side. But now with computing these two sides were at last married! I was as happy as a sand boy – teaching an exciting, growing subject. Boredom went out the window!

After six years of teaching computers, I was promoted to the post of computer lecturer at Edgewood College. In 2000 the universities were preparing to take over teacher training and the education department offered a voluntary severance package which I took.

I worked as a computer trainer at New Horizons Computer Training centre until I was offered a Governing body post in a school. I was back in main stream education. I stayed there for 8 years and decided to terminate my post in 2011 in order to pursue my other interests.

In the meantime I had taken up Ballroom and Latin dancing. My teacher started to train me to teach dancing. I have been teaching dancing for nearly 10 years. My speciality is with children – all children applying to the studio get steered in my direction.

I have been tinkering with writing for many rears. The first poem that I can remember writing was about butterflies. I have no idea where that poem is today it is lost to posterity! During my early married life I wrote children’s stories about a doll named Esmeralda. Again these are lost to posterity.

I have designed an alphabet card game and have generated many children’s puzzles. I hope one day to sort them out and put them into a book.

Recently my writing has taken a firm direction under the guidance of Felicity. I first met Felicity in the mid 90’s when I required help publishing a computer self help book that I had written. She also helped me publish a Word Processing book. I lost touch with her but was reunited in 2011. I saw a repeat broadcast on New Years day and there was Felicity. I took the bull by the horns and contacted her immediately. We set up a meeting. I have received training from her and have helped her in small ways. One of the ways was to establish and upkeep the e-book side of UmSinsi.

My writing includes:

  • 4 stories about a toy bunny called Easter. This was mainly for my granddaughter who was visiting from the UK. It was my way to keep in touch with her over a long distance. 3 more are ready for reworking and 5 ideas are sitting in the wings waiting for their turn to take the stage.
  • My dealings with troubled teens helped produce a short story about teens who have no direction from parents.
  • Two Computer books have been published by Felicity with more sitting in the wings waiting to be aired.
  • Many unfinished short stories and one unfinished novel.

I have recently joined the team as a typesetter with a bit of editing thrown in. I have also helped with sundry computer tasks and hope to be of great use in 2013.

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Ayanda SpiceZito Hlabisa

Dancing Pencils

Ayanda Hlabisa with a BA degree in communication and marketing has started as publicist for UmSinsi Press and Dancing Pencils. Youngest member of the board aged 26.

 

He is excited to be interacting with the Living Legends Award recipient given in 2011 to Felicity Keats Morrison by eThekwini Municipality for Academics nationally on daily basis and visiting rural schools uplifting literacy levels through Right Brain Workshops and trainings also donating books to schools without appropriate reading materials.

He looks forward to extending Dancing Pencils vision of helping with literacy especially in the rural areas through his activities on social media.

 

2009 was an intern for Maputaland Radio in Jozini KZN and co-hosted the afternoon drive home show. 2010 he was an intern at the SOWETO TV, JHB, Orlando East where he was the floor manager giving instructions to guest in the studio before show shoots.

We are so proud of Ayanda Hlabisa he joined us in December last year. Felicity Keats didn’t know she needed a publicist, but he needed in-house training for his CV. He had a BA in Communication, Publicity and Media Arts obtained with University of Zululand (KwaDlangezwa, KZN), and just needed a chance to use his knowledge.

Since then, he has helped us beautifully with our social media. He has also done so well in getting the ILembe Town Council and the Hluhluwe big 5 on board for rural training’s. He also helped organised earlier this year a media briefing with Mercury Newspaper, Caxton Media present .Appeared on ILanga Newspaper in May 2017 for Malabela High School 2017 “Books Donation Campaign-Hluhluwe”.

 

He co-authored the book “How We Met” the author and I, God’s Will. In this book they both unpacking how they met Ayanda and Felicity Keats Morrison at the Articulate, during the Essence Durban Festival by 13 November 2016, a world class event attended by different dignitaries and international businessmen and various artist including writers and publishers.

We are delighted and congratulate him for being nominated for a KwaZulu Natal Young Achiever’s Award Creative Class Category 2017.

This took place at the Blue Waters Hotel the 5th August 2017 Saturday night with the Premier and other dignitaries present. Congratulations, Ayanda AWARD on Creative Class!

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Profile of Veena Gangaram – Educator, Facilitator, Mentor

EXPERIENCE and CAREER
Qualified educator with 29 years teaching experience in the intermediate and senior phase. In charge of Reading and Creative Writing Motivation Programmes since 1989 to date. Post graduate course in resource Centre Management. Trained as a Creative Writing Mentor in 2002 under Felicity Keats. Started the first club under the banner of Dancing Pencils. Published the first learner’s book in the Kwa-Mashu District. Since 2002, published 25 stand alone books and 5 anthologies to date. Learners are workshopped on how to  “Develop their creative Writing Skills” once a week after school hours.

WORKSHOPS
Conducted the following workshops for ELITS (Education Library Information and Technology services) for the Department of Education – KZN.

    1. “How to motivate learners to read” – 5 workshops in the Kwa Mashu, Ndwedwe, INanda, Newlands East, Newlands West and Tongaat areas  in 2002 for educators.
    2. Workshopped educations on “Reading and Creative Writing “ at a Tent Reading Festival in Bergville, Estcourt in September 2003.
    3. Workshopped Chief Education Specialists for Languages in the Intermediate and Senior Phase in Mpumalanga in August 2008 on “Get Addicted to Reading” and “Reading Strategies.”
    4. Currently conducting workshops on “How to develop creative writing skills using the Right Brain” on Saturdays for learners from 11.00 to 13.00 at the BAT Centre, Durban.

 PROFESSIONAL AFFILIATION

  1. Board member of the Dancing Pencils Literacy Development Project
  2. Chairperson for the Dancing pencils committee in the Durban Area
  3. Events organizer of the Dancing Pencils Book launch and book handover which is part of the Celebrate Durban Campaign.

Chairperson of the Library committee at school – assist public libraries with holiday programmes and ELITS with Reading Promotion Programmes. Networked and cascaded information on Reading and Writing to educators in neighbouring schools.

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Sanelisiwe Barbara Khowa                  

(Known as Sane Khowa)

 

Sane Khowa is the current Admin Manager at Inanda Seminary, a historical boarding school for girls. Prior to joining Inanda Seminary, she worked part-time as a promoter for several sales, advertising and marketing agencies in Durban and later as a Sales and Customer Service Consultant at Hirsch’s.

Sane’s greatest strengths are her creativity, drive and leadership. She thrives on challenges, particularly those that expand the organisation’s reach. Her most recent assignment is the role she played in founding of the Centre for Integral Education and Development (CIED) which is based at Durban University of Technology and she has a leadership task both as a Trustee and Deputy Secretary. She has also recently joined the Dancing Pencils Literacy Development Project as a Board Member.

Sane has done volunteer work for the communities of Inanda, Ntuzuma and KwaMashu (INK), including heading up the 2004 campaign in her community to form a youth organisation called Umkhathi Community Trust with mission to promote history, arts, culture and heritage of INK townships and to give young people the voice in local matters in that sector.

Sane holds a National Marketing Diploma from Durban University of Technology and currently studying towards a Post Graduate Certificate in Education through UNISA.

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Profile of Patricia Devenish

Qualifications
BA  University of the Witwatersrand,
BA  Hons  Unisa
Transvaaal Teachers’ Higher Diploma JCE
L.T.CL Trinty College London

Experience
Teacher: Primary School, Secondary School  (including Special Education)
Lecturer Various Teachers’ Training Colleges
Tutor in English at the University of the Western Cape
Educator/Librarian   at the Open Air School
 
Other information
Workshops Have presented workshops for Very Special  Arts (Speech and Drama)
APEK (now Naptosa) Speech and Drama Dance and Music
Dancing Pencils Writing dialogue for children’s plays
Conferences attended International School Libraries 2003 Durban
School Libraries 2006 Portugal where I presented a paper “Creating a Book Culture in  a Special Needs School”

dancingpencils-board-members-2017