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February 19, 2023
Monday February 20th: Take Pity, Lord
February 20, 2023

Spoilt Rotten Kids showcases compassion and kindness with ‘Ubuntu’

By Klysha Best

There is a perception that Carnival is all about skimpiness and fetes.

However, there is a whole sector of creatives that are striving to showcase so much more, from the art of wire-bending, walking on stilts and designing costumes that tell real stories.

It’s hard to see that creativity sometimes when we look at the costumes presented for adult mas’. But take one look at the children’s/kiddies’ Carnival and you will have an entirely different outlook.
One such kiddies band is Spoilt Rotten Kids, also known as SRK out of Maraval.

Catholic News chatted with designer Terri-Ann Roach, whose portrayal of ‘Ubuntu’ for 2023 is already receiving buzz, following its debut at the St Anthony’s Children Carnival on February 4.

SRK’s journey began in 2001 and involves Roach and her sisters, Christine Nunes (band manager) and Elizabeth Inniss-Williams (Public Relations).

Roach said “Our children played for many years with Sandra Mathura and when she stopped coming out, we found it difficult to find a band that was as organised and as much fun as her band. So, we decided we should try and bring our own band.”

She said that the first year they tried, they had 15 children, seven of whom were theirs. “Even though our late aunt Valerie Martin brought out a children’s band in the 70s that we helped with and made individual costumes for, we quickly realised we really did not know how to build costumes, choose comfortable fabrics and interpret drawings. We had to learn it all.”

Roach said all inspiration comes from their Aunt Valerie, Peter Minshall and Wayne Berkley. She also gets her own inspiration via festivals and places of interest across the world.
This has led SRK to this year’s presentation, ‘Ubuntu’, which is inspired by the designer’s love of South Africa.

“The whole concept is basically that when you are born you have to be taught how to be kind and have compassion etc. The saying is ‘I am because you are’ – in other words, we cannot exist without other human beings. The theory was heavily subscribed to by Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu in the healing of South Africa after the end of apartheid.”
Roach said she designs with lots of input from the sisters, “who will nix anything they do not like or find original.”

When it came to the creation of Ubuntu, she said: “The process was to use the clothing styles of the different tribes of South Africa such as Zulu, Ndebele, Xhosa to portray human attributes of kindness, compassion, joy, unity etc.”

For Carnival 2023, the band is competing in the Medium Category. “We are not in the Large Band Category this year and this decision was taken based on what we saw happening,” Roach said. “Some of our families migrated and our regulars aged out.”

“We were our largest ever in 2020 and it was not the goal. We always liked being small, but the demand was overwhelming. It pretty much took a good 15 years to grow the band.”
Happy for that growth but loving the “family atmosphere” that comes with a smaller band, the sisters will only be going from strength to strength, creating and educating through their portrayals.