Tsotsi star takes part in crime festival

Victor Mecoamere

Victor Mecoamere

Award-winning actor Presley Chweneyagae continues his love affair with the yearly Stop Crime Drama Festival.

The three-day festival takes place at Mmabatho in Mafikeng, North West, from March 27.

It is presented by nation-building partners including Sowetan, Aggrey Klaaste Nation Building Foundation, Dramatists Against Crime, and North West's sports, arts and culture department.

Chweneyagae, pictured, who was born in North West, is best known for starring in the film Tsotsi. This, his first feature film, scooped the Academy Award for Foreign Language Film at the 78th Academy Awards in the US in 2006.

He was also nominated for the Naledi Awards in the best actor category for Cards.

Chweneyagae, 24, said: "I first took part in the crime festival in 1996 and have since been a regular in various roles, including participating as an actor, a playwright, motivator, and this year as a director of my own play.

"I was awarded the best actor award for Crime Stories.

"Ya Jika Lento, which I wrote together with Paul Grootboom, won the best script award in this festival. Now, I am bringing my new play, Cell No:4," Chweneyagae said.

"It is an unconventional take on personal growth and an outgrowing of peer group pressures, while examining the devastating effects of HIV-Aids on relationships between infected, and affected lovers, relatives - especially parents - and the unrivalled power of hope.

"I am disciplined because I learnt a lot from working with other established and emerging artists in the festival," Chweneyagae said.

"The strong anti-crime theme is not belaboured in the different plays that I have seen each year over the past decade.

"Most of the artists are so dedicated, you would look foolish if you decided to drop your guard and not focus. They all take the festival seriously, even when it is supposed to be a platform for amateurs," he said.

The other plays to be featured at the festival are Percy Mothupi's Changes, Mzwakhe Kgagodi's Sex & Caps Equals Aids, Kagiso Montoedi's Dark Side of Life, Moeketsi Mafe's Jozi Maboneng, Rapula Khumalo's Your Face, Lebogang Ntsie's Bokgoni, Godfrey Thobejane's Minister, Deputy & President and Inno Lebogang's Cheka Daai Ding.

The professionals who will be running workshops aimed at fine-tuning the plays before they hit the stage on March 28 and 29 include Kere Nyawo, Kholofelo Kola, Mpho Siboa, Monde Mayephu, Mzokes Thwane and Mpho Molepo.

Professional guest productions include Selaelo Maredi with The Core, Ntshieng Mokgoro with Thursday's Child and Danny Jason with Black Age.