Fighting crime at festival

ALL roads again lead to the Mmabana Cultural Centre at Mmabatho in Mafikeng, North West, for the Stop Crime Drama Festival today, tomorrow and on Sunday.

ALL roads again lead to the Mmabana Cultural Centre at Mmabatho in Mafikeng, North West, for the Stop Crime Drama Festival today, tomorrow and on Sunday.

The opinions of youths and possible solutions to crime and criminality are taken seriously in this nation-building partnerships project of Dramatists Against Crime, North West Sports, the Arts and Culture Department, Absa Foundation, Sowetan, Aggrey Klaaste Nation Building Foundation, National Arts Council and Mmabana Foundation.

For 14 years now Dramatists Against Crime's leaders and the project's innovators, Martin Koboekae and Julian Seleke Mokoto, have invited youngsters to stage plays with anti-crime themes. The youths direct, act in, do the lighting for and even handle the stage management.

This gives participants space and time to express their views on the futility and folly of crime and criminality through music, drama, dance, poetry and prose.

The project also helps to ease the social, spiritual and economical burdens that are often blamed when young people get involved in crime.

The productions compete for prizes in categories such as best production, script, director, actor and most promising production.

Internationally-acclaimed actor Presley Chweneyagae's play Cell Number 4 is the winner of the best production award for 2009. He is currently selling the play for performances in theatres.

Several professional artists who helped improve the amateur productions that have been selected for the festival include film and stage actors, authors and directors Mpho Chief Siboa, Duma Mnembe, Ntshieng Sithe, Monde Mayephu and Kere Nyawo.

They will be joined by several veteran stage and TV personalities such as Keketso Semoko and Darlington Michaels from SABC3's Isidingo, Connie Chiume from SABC1's Zone 14 and stage, movie and TV drama actors Boiki Motlhamme and Mabutho "Kid" Sithole, who are expected to conduct motivational talks, workers' rights workshops and informal mentoring and coaching sessions.

The featured amateur productions are Bokamoso, Confusion, Case 619, Obakeng, Rice, Kuzekubenini and The Loot. This year the guest productions are Heart To Soul by Selaelo Maredi and Diary of a Mad Society by Danny Jason.

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