Boosting art skills in youth

Victor Mecoamere

Victor Mecoamere

Merely encouraging youth to refrain from being sucked into the crime whirlpool is futile.

A more deliberate and proactive approach is needed.

Youngsters need to be given time and space to express their own views and fears and to provide possible solutions to their own problems - and one of the ways to achieve this is through the arts.

This is where the 12th yearly Stop Crime Drama Festival - led by Dramatists Against Crime's Martin Koboekae and Julian Seleke Mokoto - comes in.

It encourages young people to write, direct and perform, and choreograph stage productions with a strong anti-crime theme.

Due to be staged at the Mmabana Cultural Centre in Mmabatho, North West, over four days from March 26 next year, this youth development project is supported by Sowetan for the Aggrey Klaaste Nation Building Foundation, Absa Foundation, North West art and culture department, and National Arts Council.

It also encourages the community, particularly the youth, to work closely with law enforcement agencies in deterring criminal behaviour.

Established entertainers also help to improve the quality and standard of plays that do well in auditions and in March this year , these included stage and television actors Kere Nyawo, Xoli Norman, Tina Mnumzana, Monde Mayephu, Thulani Didi, Dieketseng Mnisi, Mzokes Thwane and Ntshieng Mokgoro.

Auditions for next year's Stop Crime Festival will take place at the Jouberton Community Hall in Jouberton on January 22 2009, and at:

lMmabana Cultural Centre in Taung on January 23;

lMmabana Cultural Centre in Mmabatho on January 24; and

lMmabana Cultural Centre in Tlhabane, Rustenburg, on January 25.

Participating groups should prepare audition pieces of not more than 20 minutes, carrying a strong anti-crime theme. Winning actors and groups stand to win prizes in categories including the following:

l Best production;

l Best script;

l Best director;

l Best actor; and

l Most promising production.

In a bold attempt to target school-going youth, schools are encouraged to audition and be eligible to win the best student production prize.

Community policing forums and other formations are also invited to attend the auditions. Their input will be considered in promoting positive community values as part of the festival.

lFor information contact Martin Koboekae on 082-965-6256 or e-mail