Tsotsi star is top of the pops

IVictor Mecoamere

IVictor Mecoamere

Presley Chweneyagae's two-hander Cell Number 4 scooped accolades for the best production in the Stop Crime Drama Festival held in Mmabatho, North West, at the weekend.

Cell Number 4 relies on humour and street-smart language to show the human face of HIV-Aids and warns against criminality in a subtle manner. Set in a prison cell, the play stars Segomotso Modise and Gaoelatlhe Matheyane.

The men successfully hatch a plan to convince correctional services officials to install television sets to watch the Soccer World Cup.

Sadly, one of the men dies just before joining the rest of the world in the spectacle that comes once in four years - this during the screening of a hypothetical humdinger: South Africa against Brazil!

Chweneyagae's mom Aggy said she had been worried that her son had been having many sleepless nights over the past few weeks. It turned out that the son - one of the stars of the Oscar-winning version of Athol Fugard's Tsotsi, was actually cooking up a sober take on crime and using tools that appeal to young people - music, drama, slightly unconventional acting approaches.

The most promising production kudo went to Rustenburg-based Youth Ya Mampela's Your Face, which was directed by Rapula Khumalo.

The best actor award was shared by Thomas Sithole, who starred in Minister, Deputy & President; Xola Ndlala who shone in ChangesandMy Story stars Ontiretse Manyatse and Gladness Selebogile. The best director award went to Percy Mothupi for Minister, Deputy & President; Lebogang Ntsie for My Story and to Moeketsi Mafe for Jozi Maboneng.

This festival is now in its 12th year. Conceived by thespians Martin Koboekae and Julian Seleke Mokoto, this development venture challenges youth to write and stage their own theatre productions highlighting the follies and futility of crime.

This is a nation-building and youth development partnership project of the Absa Foundation, North West Sports, Arts and Culture Department, the Aggrey Klaaste Nation Building Foundation, Sowetan and Business Arts SA.