Events & Performances


Screenplay developed by Crossing the Waters Institute for Cultural Exchange Inc. Written by Ingrid C. Askew.

“To Return” (working title) is an image and music driven drama about a young black man who loses his way and identity in South African society. He Is stripped of his traditions, culture, pride and integrity by the brutal Apartheid system. After 20 years of being homeless with no physical resources, he meets an angel who helps him find his way back to self and regain his place with family, community and his rite of passage into manhood.

“To Return” is based on the true life story of a Black South African man and woman living during Apartheid and post-Apartheid South Africa. Our main characters are 33 and 35 years old when they meet in 1999. Apartheid has “ended” and our female character, while a student at the University of Cape Town, first encounters the male protagonist living under a bridge near her college campus and their lives are changed forever.

This story is of their personal struggles to survive Apartheid, their traditional and spiritual beliefs and their connections to the ancestral realm as well as their challenges with mental illness and depression. 

The film will be shot in South Africa, with South African actors and non actors. It is being written in Xhosa and Afrikaans, with English subtitles. 


l-r: Ingrid Askew, Executive Director of Crossing the Waters, Keilani Tirado, Bernice Kwade, Caridad Martinez Director of Youth Ambassadors Program.

Inspired by Julius Ford, in 2008-2009 the Institute for Training and Development sponsored a performing artists cultural exchange program with Cape Town South Africa. Julius Ford, a community activist and artist participated in the exchange. Julius was deeply moved by the experience and was inspired to create a youth ambassadors program with youth in the western MA communities to be able to engage and share their experiences with their peers in the African Diaspora. Julius passed away shortly after the South Africa exchange. The Youth Ambassadors Program is a way to realize Julius's dream of providing young people of color opportunities to explore new ways of engaging with each other and learning to become global citizens.

Beginning in 2013 The Youth Ambassadors have been working towards building a performance ensemble that would eventually create a body of work that will be shared with other communities here and abroad. Their focused trainings have come from Social Justice theater techniques and spoken word presentation led by 2050 Legacy a hip-hop, a social justice theater, and artist development organization for social change, The group also practices tai chi movement meditation and writing with Sensai Janet Aalfs director of Lotus Peace Arts,  and music and Dance with Instructor Brendaliz Cepeda and company. Under the instruction of the Cepeda family, the ensemble is learning about Afro Puerto Rican rhythms and the cultural origins of Bomba y Plena.


is a program that serves refugee women and girls living in exile in Cape Town, South Africa. They are from Rwanda, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Somalia and Zimbabwe and they are all survivors of war and civil conflict. All of the participants suffer in varying degrees from post traumatic stress disorder. Coming from diverse backgrounds of education, religion and socio-economics, they have suffered great loss. From entire families being killed to being victims of sexual violence and HIV positive status. In spite of their past experiences as horrific as they were, these women are true testimonies to the human spirit. Their willingness to forgive, their unyielding faith, grace and dignity are an inspiration and a great learning for those who work with them.