Fredericka ‘Frieda’ Darvel is 18 years old and hails from Mitchells Plain on the Cape Flats. She ran away from home three years ago because of ‘problems, problems, problems’ and has been living on the street. She sleeps in Long Street, outside Scoop Furniture Shop. She has a sister Ronelle, who is 21 and also lives on the street. Frieda is always with Magdalene, a best friend.
Not surprisingly, her favourite thing in all the world is singing, and she wants to one day be a famous singer, just like her idols Mariah Carey, Celine Dion and Whitney Houston! Frieda is constantly singing, to herself or to anyone who will listen – and she is never short of an audience! Her favourite song is Whitney’s “I believe that children are the future”… she is an inspiration and a beautiful spirit, always with a smile and a voice that would be at home in a choir of angels!
Street Universe is a section 21 company that is committed to building a world (with the help of the community) where all street children and youth are given the support and opportunity to realise their potential and to ultimately make a positive contribution to society. We are in essence trying to find long-term solutions for our street kids, because we believe in them and see their huge potential. The organisation was officially started two years ago by Linzi Thomas who was desperate to find innovative and real solutions for the children that end up on the streets. All we endeavour to do is to provide opportunities for the kids, and the support that will enable them to take advantage of these opportunities. We help the street kids to help themselves. We only work with those kids that have shown a commitment to building a life away from the streets. We believe that it is the collective responsibility of the entire community to get involved and assist in dealing with the issue of street kids, and we recognise and appreciate that we cannot do this alone. At the same time, we want the street kids to interact with the community (such as at the Coca-Coal POPSTARS), which we believe will help to change people perceptions of street kids and will enable them to see the side of the kids that we are privileged to see often – their spark, their talent, their amazing grasp on life, their unlimited potential. If we didn’t believe in these kids we wouldn’t be doing what we do, and we honestly believe that these misunderstood and much-maligned survivors are diamonds in the rough and, if given the chance, will be our future leaders.
Coca-Cola POPSTARS provided the perfect vehicle for some of our aspiring street kid popstars to have the opportunity to get on stage, to strut their stuff, to interact with guys n girls from different backgrounds, to develop and to grow. For kids who are offered little opportunity to shine, it is a once-in-a-blue-moon opportunity, and something that young Frieda grasped with both hands. To reach the Cape Town finals and be in the top 50 (out of 900 hopefuls) is an astonishing achievement for a girl who smokes, lives on the street, and has no formal training. Her solo singing in the 2nd round on Wednesday morning reduced the auditorium to tears, as it came straight from the heart. In the afternoon round, nerves finally got the better of our singing heroine mid-way through her duet and she forgot her words and rushed off the stage and firmly into the hearts of the judges and her fellow contestants. The effect she had on everyone was quite unreal – GHFM DJ Sugar called her an inspiration, interviewed her on live radio and spoke about Frieda for her entire show, and two of the judges Nkhensani and Karl were moved to tears by her strength, her talent and her raw deal in life. As for Frieda, she had a ball and couldn’t understand all the fuss that was being made about her. For her it had been a wonderful experience, and a few hours spent with singers and performers who are as passionate about singing as she is!