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By Penwell Dlamini | Jun 30, 2009 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

IT WAS a dream come true for 16 young actors when they boarded Shosholoza Meyl in Johannesburg for Grahamstown, in Eastern Cape, yesterday to perform at the National Arts Festival.

The actors, aged between 18 and 28, belong to Linothile Productions and are all from Evaton in the Vaal.

They left Johannesburg at 1pm with jubilation written all over their faces for the festival that begins on Thursday.

The cast will also perform in the contemporary dance category at the festival.

Their play, Home Sweet Home, is directed by Matlakala Motaung.

The play is about a man called Potla, who was jailed during the apartheid era and after his release finds that his wife has abandoned his children, leaving them with her mother-in-law.

Potla divorces his wife and marries a woman who was a cleaner at the factory where he was employed.

Ditope Mahlophe, 21, who plays the lead role of Potla, said this was an opportunity of a lifetime.

"I've been acting since I was seven and it's been my dream to perform at the National Arts Festival," he said. "I believe some international producers will see my potential."

Mahlophe has also played a lead role in the theatre production called The Streetlife.

Linothile Productions approached Dosto Noge of the Speak Out TV programme to help find a sponsor. Noge convinced Shosholoza Meyl to sponsor the group's trip.

"I admire the hard work put in by Linothile's leadership in assisting the group to secure accommodation and meals in Grahamstown," Noge said.

Viwe Mlenzana, chief executive of Shosholoza Meyl, said the initiative was the beginning of their campaign to lure young people to the train.

"It is our small contribution to helping young people realise their dream," he said, adding that they were planning to install TV and radio in the trains to appeal to the youth.


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