getting message through to youth

IN A country ravaged by HIV-Aids a writer from Limpopo has produced a new stage drama aimed at educating young people about the killer disease.

Known as the father of township theatre in Limpopo and beyond, the famous Mahuma Paul Rapetsoa has joined forces with his son Matome to produce a play that will take theatre-goers by surprise.

Father and son have produced an aggressive play titled Youth Towards Change. The play talks about extravagant young people who believe that behind every successful man there is a sexy woman.

The educational play is supported and was commissioned by the provincial department of health and social development. It serves as entertainment, a method of communication and as a mirror of HIV and Aids and its prevention and prevalence.

The play is also used by the department as part of its outreach edutainment programmes, which teach young people how to maintain a positive lifestyle and how to avoid contacting sexually transmitted diseases.

The Rapetsoa family have over the years worked on several stage dramas that held high the flag of the province. Among the plays are the famous Watch The Trap, Circumstances, Forget About Me and the educational Get-Down, which had a great effect on the improvement of matric results in 2001.

Matome Rapetsoa said yesterday: "Youth Towards Change is an eight-man play that counsels and educates young people that there is life after HIV and that Aids can be prevented.

"The play portrays the life of a young girl with a poor family background who will give anything to date a man who drives elegant wheels."

But the girl is taken aback when one of her closest friends tells her that her boyfriend has impregnated her and infected her with the HI virus.

Selby Makgotho, provincial spokesperson for health and social development, commended the good work done by the Mahuma Arts and Communications Company.

Makgotho said for many years now the Rapetsoa family had been at the forefront of using theatre as a tool to educate people.