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Soweto drama group all set for the National Arts Festival

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Ngizwe community theatre will go to Grahamstown thanks to the festival’s organisers and a sponsor

The Ngizwe community theatre group of Soweto performing The LIttle One. Photo: Mark Lewis
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Ngizwe, a community theatre group in Soweto will be travelling to the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown. The festival runs from 29 June to 9 July. 

Ngizwe, meaning ‘hear me’ in isiZulu, was founded in 2013 and is based at a community centre in Noordgesig in Gauteng.

After GroundUp published an article about the group’s dream to perform at the festival, the festival organisers contacted Ngizwe to waive the registration costs and offer a performance venue for free.

The rest of the funds to hire a van, a driver, and to pay for subsistence and accommodation at the festival came from Grounded Media. They will be travelling to the festival on 30 June.

The 11 young actors, range in age from 11 to 21. They will perform The Little One, a story about Tshabalira Lebakeng, the founder of Ngizwe, and his years of homelessness.

“What we need now is audiences,” says Emma Delius, Ngizwe’s Creative Director. “ We want audiences from the surrounding townships and young people to come to our show. We are happy to make a plan to get them tickets. That is what we really need.”

Member of the group, 11-year-old Nobuhle Mbanjwa, said she is both excited and anxious to perform at the festival. “Now I will be competing with the big guns. I am hoping to learn a lot from these people, even if I am worried about stage fright.”

Wakhe Swartbooi, who is 16, says going to Grahamstown is a dream come true. “When I am at rehearsal, I feel like I am in heaven. Tshaba made me realise I could do do this.”

The group will be performing on 2 and 3 July. To book click here.

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TOPICS:  Arts and culture