Mmabana Mmabatho set for rich anti-crime youth drama festival

Victor Mecoamere

Victor Mecoamere

North West is hosting the 11th yearly Stop Crime Drama Festival at Mmabana Cultural Centre in Mmabatho, Mafikeng, over four days from Thursday.

Encouraging a crime-free society, the festival features productions with a strong anti-crime theme that have been written by young people. The directors, stage managers and performers are the self-same youngsters.

Conceived by playwrights Martin Koboekae and Jullian Seleke-Mokoto, the festival was launched in Soweto, Gauteng, in 1997. It also serves as a talent-spotting and nurturing platform and is continuing to showcase emerging artistic talent while not straying from its core goal - discouraging the youth from engaging in criminal activities and behaviour.

Koboekae and Seleke Mokoto's production company, Dramatists Against Crime has received a welcome logistical and financial boost from sponsoring and organising partners - Absa, Sowetan, North West Arts and Culture Department, hosts Mmabana Mmabatho Cultural Centre.

Erstwhile yearly funders, the National Arts Council, are also lending a hand. Sowetan has made the festival a part of the youth development and anti-crime activities of the Aggrey Klaaste Nation Building Foundation.

This crucial youth development project is made most relevant in view of the high number of youths in our overflowing prisons and the limited capacity of the correctional services' rehabilitation processes and programmes, oftentimes reaching and making a telling impact on only a few juvenile delinquents.

Established entertainers have always had a soft spot for the festival and this year is no exception. Several popular theatre and television performers helped to mould productions that have have succeeded in stringent auditions that took place across North West last month.

They are Kere Nyawo, Xoli Norman, Tina Mnumzana, Monde Mayephu, Thulani Didi, Dieketseng Mnisi, Mzokes Thwane and Ntshieng Mokgoro.

They ran theatre development workshops in Mmabatho, Taung, Zeerust, Schweizer-Reinecke, Klerksdorp and Ventersdorp.

Performances will take place soon after the anti-crime march on Saturday until 6,30pm. The performances will continue on Sunday March 30 from 10am until 6,30pm. After that prizes will be presented to the winning groups and artists. Other related activities include:

lOpen public theatre workshops at the Mmabana Cultural Centre in Mmabatho on March 27.

lThe official launch of the 2008 Stop Crime Drama Festival on March 28.

lPerformances for top honours by amateur drama groups at the Mmabana Cultural Centre on March 29 and 30.

lFor more info contact Martin Koboekae - 082-965-6256., or e-mail