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Sunday, June 20, 2021

16 Days of Activism: Hear Me Move Educational Theatre launched to tackle child abuse in schools

Thabo Mohlala

With 16 Days of Activism against Women and Children abuse officially launched, a group of professional dancers and actors have teamed up to tour schools to raise awareness about sexual abuse.

In October this year, 87 girl learners were allegedly by one of the school guards at the AB Xuma Primary School in Soweto. Similar cases were reported in several other schools in the Gauteng province.

TV and theatre producer, Wandile Molebatsi said they felt the need to intervene when reading headline after headline about teachers and security guards who sexually molested young school girls.

He said choreographer and professional dancer, Paul Modjadji, suggested they respond to these social ills through the use of theatre and dance. Molebatsi said as a direct response they decided to form ‘Hear Me Move Educational Theatre’ – comprising seven original cast members of the dance film and a few new faces – to tour 10 schools around Gauteng province.

Lwazilubanzi Mthembu, actress, writer and director, who is also involved with the educational tour, said besides the show they also work closely with the Kwanele-Enuf is Enuf Campaign, which conducts workshops and also does interventions for children who are affected by abuse or are victims of the abuse themselves.

She said the Kwanele-Enuf is Enuf Campaign provides counselling and tools to empower abused children to get out of their situation. Mthembu said the campaign was also formed to mobilise society to take a proactive stand in eliminating abuse.

Molebatsi said theatre and dance are appropriate vehicles through which they can bring such a heavy subject matter to the level of young people. He said they use popular culture and edutainment to create context for young people to engage meaningfully with such a subject.

Molebatsi said when you create spaces and address issues that resonate with young people, they open up about the whole range of issues that affect them.

“The educational tour is not just about dancing and having fun but we also provide support and interventions to learners who may have been abused or may not have been aware they have been abused,” said Mthembu.

She said they are looking at extending the tours beyond the duration of 16 Days of Activism campaign. “This will enable us to reach more schools across the country to ensure every child is made aware of what child abuse is about and how they can be assisted to deal with it,” said Mthembu. 

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