Born to Play!


Born and raised in Thaba Nchu, Sarah Sease is definitely a force to be reckoned with – a softer, loving and caring force. Her passion and love for children can be seen right throughout her puppet shows.

“I grew up under the loving care of my parents and grandparents, so my business head was inspired by my paternal grandparents and my love and care for children comes from my maternal grandparents.”

After matric in 2008, Sarah moved to Bloemfontein to study B Com Marketing at the University of the Free State. She served at CRC Kids church and that’s where she met her supportive husband. “We got married in 2014 and have been blessed with our two little angels.”

At a very young age, Sarah was bitten by the storytelling bug and it inspired her to start her own storytelling business called Papadi Park. “My grandmother always joked and said that during one parents’ meeting, the teacher said ‘Sarah speaks from the morning to the afternoon’.”

Sarah reminisces how easily storytelling has been for her and how her love for puppets developed by watching The Muppets. “I remember when my cousins and I would gather at my grandmother’s for the school holidays and put on a puppet show. We would call it the ‘The Ma Big Show’ – that was our attempt at trying to say “The Muppet Show”.

Sarah’s business falls within the early childhood development (ECD) industry. Puppetry, storytelling and music are used to enhance class lessons. This form of education is called Edutainment. She loves this because a simple lesson has an everlasting impact on a child. “Our characters mimic the lives of the children, thereby creating an opportunity for peer-to-peer teaching. This enables the kids to see how similar we all are.”

Her business, Papadi Park, enriched Sarah with the skill of creative and out-of-the-box teaching. When the time came to build a career, Sarah went for what felt natural to her. A business that lets her play! A business that lets her teach while providing a sustainable income.

Papadi Park visits schools, hospitals, and all sorts of gatherings of children across the Free State enabling Sarah and her team of three to meet many people from different walks of life. “Seeing how the teachers and children respond to a talking doll and learning from it, warms my heart the most.”

But, it is not always just fun and games. Sarah mentions that their daily puppet shows at schools are guided by the national curriculum framework for children from birth to the age of four, as well as the national curriculum assessment policy statement for the foundation phase (children aged 5 to 9).

“Our show scripts are written based on the various school lessons and themes. At Papadi Park, we also base our lessons on social issues facing children and current affairs.

“As fun as playing seems, it tends to get emotional as well, especially when Papadi Park visits special little guests at children’s oncology wards. “Illnesses are not designed to be fun, nothing about it is designed for playing and to be silly, especially for young children. Throw on top of it a debilitating illness and it is just not good.”

When she was first invited to the oncology ward, she saw children just like any other kiddies who were excited to see what’s behind the curtain. She noticed a longing and yearning to play. That’s when Sarah knew that this had to be a big part of the services Papadi Park offers. “This has to be the most fulfilling part of my career as a puppeteer and business woman. Not many people understand how fruitful the world of ECD is, how crucial it is to nation building.”