Themba Interactive - Initiatives for Life (Themba Initiative) will be presenting three productions at the Drama for Life ‘Sex Actually’ festival organised by Drama for Life. For the first time in Themba Initiatives’ 10-year history, they will be staging a main stream theatre production. ‘We are all excited about the three productions and look forward to sharing them with our audiences. “The topics covered by the productions explore inter-racial relationships in the new South Africa; sexual orientation/sexuality and living with HIV,” said the deputy managing director of Themba Interactive, Sweetness Buthelezi-Akinwumi. The festival started on 23 August and will end 1 September 2012.
Their first point of entry is the partnership with the Drama for Life schools festival, where Themba Interactive is traveling to ten schools around Johannesburg to create dialogue around the issues of the spectacle of Izikhothane in most townships around Gauteng. The name of the play is called Virtual Dynamics, a story about the spectacle of Izikhothane. This is viewed by Themba as a destructive display of opulence among teenagers living in townships in South Africa, juxtaposed against the backdrop of cyber-bullying and viral sex videos on cellphones and social networks. Themba Interactive hopes to cause audiences to reflect on the behaviour of the characters as a social commentary on the values and norms of our societies.
The performances starring Faith Busika, Lebohang Mthunzi, Lenasia Meyer, Lerato Ntjabane, Tyrone Nakedi, Ayanda Khala and Thembile Tshuma, started on 14 August 2012 and have seen the company travelling to the West Rand as well as performing in schools in the inner city of Johannesburg.
A Certain Kind of Man
In A Certain Kind of Man, Themba Interactive’s theatre company presents its first offering to the scene of mainstream theatre, which makes its debut at the DFL Sex Actually festival in August 2012. Starring Thembile Tshuma, Tyrone Nakedi, Happy Mangindana and Lebohang Mthunzi, this provocative story explores the complex and fragile boundaries of identity of the urban black man. Through the charismatic image that Sizwe Ndlovu, a young Black Economic Empowerment beneficiary, portrays as well as the façade of marital bliss that Raymond Mokoena, an upcoming black professional, struggles to achieve, the play questions the assumptions made around the de-construction of manhood and sexuality. The play opens on 28 August 2012 in the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) Amphitheatre.
In Love Collision, two worlds collide, when black meets white, worlds unfold, true colours emerge, tensions arise, and uncertainties blossom. The performance raises the question of what happens next. Is it up to them?
The play features Lesiba Moleko Komelane and Chelsey May. It is directed by Bongani Ntshingila. Chelsey, Lesiba and Bongani are Facilitators with Themba Interactive and Lesiba is currently a drama student at Wits.
In a country where apartheid is over but racial tensions still exist, an interracial couple find themselves in love. This is an ordinary modern day relationship with challenges faced by many couples; however, the only difference is he is black and she is white. He is from ekasi and she is from the suburbs. Love Collision aims to explore the challenges faced by interracial couples and whether these challenges can be overcome. His friends are telling him she has jungle fever, while her mother is telling her she has an inferiority complex. His father tells him it will not last, while black women accuse her of stealing their man.
Through Positive Eyes
Through Positive Eyes is an international photography project that gives people living with HIV/AIDS the opportunity to pick up their own cameras, tell their own stories, and document the reality of their lives. In doing so, they create artworks that serve as effective tools for combating stigma, one of the most formidable barriers to reducing the spread of AIDS today. Through Positive Eyes has now engaged with more than 70 photographers in five major cities; Mexico City, Rio de Janeiro, Johannesburg, Los Angeles, and Washington, DC, with plans to hold future workshops in India, Ukraine, and England. You can check out the entire project at ThroughPositiveEyes.org.
The new multi-media body of work being premiered as part of the Drama for Life Festival emerged from an extraordinary collaboration among 12 of the original seventeen activists from Through Positive Eyes – South Africa, along with Drama for Life, Themba Interactive, Through Positive Eyes co-director Gideon Mendel, and the UCLA Art & Global Health Centre. The goal of the collaboration is to fuse the visual with live performance, to combat stigma, and to strengthen the advocacy potential of people living with HIV/AIDS in South Africa. The end result is a multi-media experience that expresses the emotional reality of people living with HIV/AIDS.
Through Positive Eyes is supported in South Africa by a generous grant from the United States President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), with local sponsorship by Positive Convention. Internationally, the lead funder is The Herb Ritts Foundation. Other major funders around the world include: The Ford Foundation, Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, STD/AIDS Prevention Department of the Brazilian Ministry of Health, City of Los Angeles AIDS Coordinator’s Office, HIV/AIDS Prevention Unit of the Los Angeles Unified School District, University of California Institute for Mexico and the United States (UC MEXUS), UCLA School of the Arts and Architecture, UCLA International Institute, and UCLA AIDS Institute.
For more about Themba Interactive-Initiatives for Life, refer to www.themba.org.za.
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