The Bakwena Drama for Change school project this year educated 17 schools and thousands of learners on the dangers associated with alcohol abuse and other risky behaviours. This campaign is now in its fourth year.
Charmaine van Wyk, public relations manager of Bakwena Platinum Corridor Concessionaire, operator of the N1N4 highway, says the highly successful educational drama project culminated in two final events. On 17 September 2016, schools from Bapong and Kgetleng performed their plays at the Bapo Tribal Hall; and on 24 September Dinokana and Zeerust Schools held their final event at the Thaga Moso Resort in Zeerust.
“The main objective of this campaign is to engage with youth about understanding the risks of drinking alcohol, the consequences of risky behaviour, and the importance of making thoughtful decisions while still young. It provides a platform whereby groups of young people from each of the 17 schools can leverage the powerful impact of drama to convey a social message. It is also highly developmental for the scholars themselves.”
The project brings together Bakwena, Rare Arts Productions and the South African Red Cross to provide schools with both peer education and drama training. “We empower learners themselves to identify social issues within their communities that have an effect on their lives as young people,” explains Van Wyk.
This year, school alumni who had previously been involved in the drama project, received special training as ‘Drama Pioneers’ to assist in the drama camps at schools in Dinokana and Bapong and to improve their own Peer Education and drama skills
“There is evidence that South African youths engage in risky drinking behaviour which can lead to harmful consequences in terms of traffic injuries, violence, risky sexual behaviour, interpersonal violence and long term health consequences. To empower schools concerning these risks, learners at each school developed their own story and dialogue.” Mentorship was provided by Monde Mayephu from Rare Arts Productions. This year he was supported by Andile Mbatha, Diana Maseko, and Bongiwe Lunga. Themes of plays included sexual abuse, corruption, service delivery issues, teenage pregnancy, poverty, peer pressure, drug and alcohol abuse, road safety and bullying.
Adjudicators from Mmabana and the Department of Arts and Culture selected the best performances of the day. At the 17 September event Michael Modisakeng was selected as the team with the best play, with Reebone as runner-up. Zeerust Combined team was selected as the best play during the 24 September event, with Ramatu as runners-up.
Best individual performances were also recognised: Ziyanda Guwatla from St Teresa Secondary? was selected as best actress; and Tsepo Sekgobokgobo from Moedwil as best actor for the Bapong and Kgetleng event. The best actor for the Dinokana and Zeerust area was KoiKoi Ktlwano from Ntebogeng and the best actress was Tshegofatso Pheko from Zeerust Combined School.
Participating schools included Michael Modisakeng, Mogale, Johane Mokolobetsi, St Teresa, Machadam, Moedwil, Reebone, Swartruggens Intermediate, Thuto ke Maatla, Ramatu, Ikageleng, NR Mandela, Zeerust Combined, Ngotwane, Zeerust Hoërskool, Ramotshere and Ntebogang.
School teams will do outreach projects in their communities to convey their messages.