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Deputy Minister in the Presidency, Buti Manamela, today launched the Gauteng Schools Drama Festival where he reminded the youth of their power to raise consciousness using drama and theatre.

Speaking at the launch at the Market Theatre in Johannesburg, Deputy Minister Manamela said the idea of the festival is borne from the legacy of 16 June 1976.

“The festival is the platform for young people to tell their own stories applying the lessons of June 16, 1976. The festival is the stage for youth voices to be heard. The festival is the podium where young people will vocalise their own meaning,” said Deputy Minister Manamela.

The festival, which kicked off in Gauteng, will eventually spread to other provinces, provides schools and learners with the opportunity to reflect on the 40th anniversary of 16 June 1976.

Through the festival, which looks back at the events of the June 16 student uprisings, learners will research, investigate and interrogate history.

In addition, learners will develop and shape messages consistent with the own lives and experiences. They will then illuminate those messages by developing their own drama production.

“Drama and theatre are powerful tools for raising consciousness, as we witnessed throughout the last four decades. At a time when Christianity was viewed as the white man’s religion, Woz Albert told us that Christ could indeed come to Soweto in his second coming.

“When apartheid trampled on the dignity of all black people, Willie Seopolo, the township scholar, rejected the second class status that apartheid gave him in No Good Friday. And of course Sarafina showed us that the powerful youth voice will not be silenced.

“Young people are powerful in raising consciousness. We must remember that it was the youth of the 70’s and 80’s that rose up to fight apartheid when the older generation seemed somewhat resigned to accept their fate,” said Deputy Minister Manamela. – SAnews.gov.za

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