Roadies Mappp out future in Newtown

Edward Tsumele

Edward Tsumele

There is a hive of activity at Sara House in Newtown as an instructor intently goes through his notes.

From time to time he stops lecturing to ask questions.

A student takes the instructor's podium and explains the hazards of producing large-scale outside shows such as festivals.

This particular session took place in November as the students were wrapping up the year with revision.

But it is the kind of lesson that new recruits will be undergoing when they arrive on Friday for six months at the South African Roadies' Association (Sara) Training Centre in Newtown.

Sponsored by the sector education and training authority for the media, advertising, publishing, printing and packaging (Mappp-Seta), this qualification prepares students for work in live entertainment as producers of shows, stage managers, lighting technicians, sound engineers, production managers and other specialised fields.

The students will not pay a cent for the course - fees are paid by the Mappp-Seta, which has accredited Sara to impart these skills.

It took Sara many years of toiling, with the help of Create SA, a project of Mappp-Seta in 2003.

It helped to a limited extent, but it took many years of fighting to get funding, most of it from overseas organisations.

But now Mappp-Seta has put aside R700000 for the training of youngsters, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds.

"This funding came at the right time and we are thankful to Mappp-Seta for it, said the president of Sara, Freddy Nyethela.

He said about 80percent of the people who work in live entertainment in South Africa are trained by Sara, which means that Sara plays a very important role in the industry.

"We are especially thankful to the new chief executive of the Mappp-Seta, Melanie Bernard-Fryer, for her understanding of the crucial role that we play."