It’s always great to keep up with writers we have worked with, and see what they are doing. Lawrence Simelane was a mentee writer in one of our projects in Gauteng in 2015. He is also involved in the performing arts – and his original story was about a pantsula dancer. You can read it here here.
Recently he contacted us asking for book prizes for a play competition he was running in Soweto. We sent him books, and asked him more about what he was doing. He told us he had established an organisation, Page To Stage. In his own words:
“Page to stage is a community-based company in Protea South Soweto that brings to life new and existing stage plays, radio dramas, music, film, dance, poetry and also adaptations of literature work. Every two months we have a Page To Stage festival that addresses current issues affecting the youth in our community, and we run workshops for the youth using applied drama and theatre techniques to empower and engage them in experimental and reflective process to ensure that learning and change becomes negotiated and sustainable.”
Students from four schools were invited to participate in a film script competition, and Page to Stage supplied a facilitator to help the learners develop their performances. Each script was developed into a short film, and Page to Stage managed the filming and editing of the productions.
The winning play was Makgalapina Source Street, presented by learners from Altmont Technical Secondary. Lawrence explained: “It tells the story of Diketso who was abandoned by his mother after his father passed away. Diketso ended up selling drugs that he became addicted too. One day his boss gave him a bag worth 20k to sell, but unfortunately, Diketso lost that bag. Diketso’s girlfriend was taken by his boss and held hostage until Diketso could bring the money. However, in the end, the girlfriend’s uncle managed to rescue her.”
Lawrence said it was a deserving winner, being “original, compelling and interesting”.
We are currently editing the scripts so that they can be published on our site. We’re excited about getting them online as from previous experience we know that our readers love reading plays as they seem to enjoy the immediacy of a script and its exciting dialogue.
It is also great for us to see Lawrence Simelane continuing with his inspiring work. We wish him everything of the best.