Knowledge Unzipped programme aims to educate the youth on sexual health.

Drama for Life (DFL) launched its 2019 long-term sexual and gender health intervention programme called Knowledge Unzipped in secondary schools around Gauteng on Friday, September 13.

Knowledge Unzipped focuses on raising awareness through dialogic and reflective sessions including applied drama on various societal issues such as HIV/Aids, sexual health, gender politics and relationships.

Creative researcher at DFL, Lehlohonolo Dube told Wits Vuvuzela, “the concept of Knowledge Unzipped came from a rise in teenage pregnancy, unplanned pregnancies and also the rapid growth in HIV/Aids, STDs and STI-related sicknesses around teenagers.”

DFL uses the art of theatre to educate, enhance dialogue for purposes of social transformation and healing through research, teaching and learning, and community engagement.

Sithembiso Khalishwayo, Rehearse//Reveal curator at DFL said performing arts has more of an impact than learners picking up a book and reading it.

“I think for us, it’s the realisation that this whole idea of books and schooling is that kids get bored. They can read all the information that they want, but that does not mean they are taking it in.

“What the arts allows for them is that they engage directly to it. At times the kids will be singing the songs that we performed which carry a message. They realise that they can actually speak about sexual health without being mocked or being in a formal setting of a classroom.”

Diana Penman, also a creative researcher at DFL, said the ultimate goal for Knowledge Unzipped in an ideal world is “to eradicate the infections of HIV and to get people to engage with sex, not necessarily the act of having sex, but with the idea of sex in a positive way.”

“The goal is to create an awareness that seeks to break the false information that learners get from other people for example that if you use the morning after pill after having unprotected sex then you can wash away your STDs and STIs,” said Dube.

FEATURED IMAGE: Sithembiso Khalishwayo and Lehlohonolo Dube are creative researchers in the Drama for Life Theatre Company and they also form part of the 2019 Knowledge Unzipped intervention Photo: Lwandile Shange