'Thandiwe Wa Bantu' encourages talks about bullying among children
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A new play titled “Thandiwe Wa Bantu” explores issues of bullying among children in South Africa.
The play is currently showing at Sibikwa Arts Centre, in Benoni, Ekurhuleni, until Thursday, October 14.
Conceptualised and directed by theatre-makers Smal Ndaba and Phyllis Klotz, “Thandiwe Wa Bantu” seeks to create awareness and explore the realities of bullying in our schools and communities.
The story centres around a 17-year-old girl who is in grade 11, and due to financial circumstances at home, is pushed to move from a private school to a public school, making her vulnerable in her new environment.
Her schoolmates make many derogatory statements toward her, such as “you are too dark-skinned (mnyamane)”, “you think you are better”, “you are a coconut”.
“Sibikwa has always done issue-based theatre, and we recognised bullying as an epidemic in our society. And theatre is a good way of raising awareness about the issue.
“As a result, we have tried to employ rapping, hip hop and popular dances and techniques that young people can resonate with within the play.
“The goal was to have the audience, particularly young people, participate and engage in the play and think about the issue of bullying beyond the production,” explains Ndaba.
The target audience for this play are pupils between the ages of 13 and 18 years (grades 7-12), who are directly and indirectly impacted by the issue, and who comprise victims, instigators and witnesses.
“We targeted this audience because we felt that the issue of bullying is more prevalent in this age group, particularly in schools, but also because within this age bracket, bullying is more violent, as we’ve seen with young people committing suicide as a result of bullying.
“What we are hoping to achieve through this production is that audiences participate and as a result open the channels of dialogue between teachers and learners but also encourage schools to implement policies and create an environment that does not allow bullying,” adds Klotz.
According to the duo, the message of the play is clear and simple.
“Bullying happens across the board. It has no face, it has no race.
“We want people to consider their behaviour and its effects on others,” said the creative directors.
Tickets are Sibikwa Arts Centre for R40.