Theatre organisation walks away with bronze for community-based initiative

WITS’ Drama for Life (DfL) and the Joburg Theatre walked away with a joint bronze award for Social Transformation: Education and Skills Development at the Gauteng Premier’s Service Excellence Awards on February 28.

The organisations were honoured for their three-year Applied Performing Arts and Arts Management programme, which trains students from Johannesburg in the performing arts.

Actor Mokhaola Ndebele from the Joburg Theatre praised the programme for its ability to invest in students through arts and empower them to bring about social change.

“The progamme invites kids from different regions of Johannesburg to audition and then selects them to complete courses in different faculties of art.

“Drama for Life and Joburg Theatre have been working together to uplift students so this award is a great testament to that,” Ndebele told Wits Vuvuzela.

The long-standing partnership between the two organisations speaks to their mutual interest in youth, arts and development, said DfL founder Warren Nebe.

Nebe said he believes the award recognises the ground-breaking work done by the DfL, which combines postgraduate academic, research and community engagement programmes with different disciplines in art.

“This is one of several awards Drama for Life has received as a new leader in changing education toward a human rights and social justice education.

“We are delighted by the growing local, regional and international recognition of our arts pedagogy for social change,“ Nebe told Wits Vuvuzela.

The award adds to an already rewarding 2019 for DfL after A Place of Knowing, a play which premiered at the DfL’s Emakhaya Theatre, was selected for the International Youth Arts Festival in London, United Kingdom on July 6-12.

Drama for Life describes itself as an organisation that aims to enhance its position in dialogue surrounding social change and transformation. “We hope to play a more active role in the democratisation of our university space at Wits,” Nebe explained.

He added, “We will build upon our partnerships and networks with universities, colleges and NGO partners here in South Africa and abroad. We are specifically interested in enhancing our research in democratic pedagogies that are cognisant of the need to build empathic and critical thinking.”

The 11th DfL Conference and Festival will take place from August 8 to August 17 and will bring together numerous local and international works to Wits’ doorstep.

FEATURED IMAGE: Ntumekelelo Siyeyphu (centre), tells her story during the A Place of Knowing performance at the Emakhaya Theatre. Photo: Provided


Wits Vuvuzela, Youth theatre talent gains international recognition, February 2019