Arnold, whose Xhosa name is Kagiso, lives with his mother and brother in the poor township of Khayelitsha outside of Cape Town, South Africa. Although his mother is a teacher in the local school, she sends him on a long commute by foot, commuter train, and bus to a formerly all-white school in Cape Town. Arnold's life is transformed when he discovers the Zip Zap Circus School which he begins attending after regular school classes. The school is free, racially mixed, and teaches many circus skills. But it is "flying" on the trapeze which captivates Arnold.