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EC Schools Festival Bulletin


The 2011 Eastern Cape Schools Festival took part on 16th & 17th May in the 1820 Settlers Monument. The VSA with sponsorship from the Schools Festival office had the privilege of taking fifteen awareNet learners from Grahamstown East (Benjamin Mahlasela Secondary School, Nathaniel Nyaluza High School, Nombulelo Secondary School & Ntsika Secondary School).

The learners were asked to take stock of the festival & start sections on what they had learnt (or would have loved to learn) on this online project.

I hope the sections will reflect insights they got from being part of awareNet and taking part in this useful festival. 

1. Catch Fire – Waya Waya Workshop

Mandilakhe Adam, Grade 11, Benjamin Mahlasela

Upstart helps me a lot. I experienced using a computer from awareNet who are partners of Upstart; and because of awareNet I attended the Schools Festival last week. There I attended a workshop called Catch the Fire Waya Waya. It was interesting. We sat in a circle and one of us did not have a sitting spot, that person had to hold a piece of paper and look for someone to tap with the paper then run away around the circle while being chased by the person they had tapped. The point of the exercise was to get to the empty spot first.

After being outrun many times I learnt that the purpose of the game was to learn tact. You can't just choose anyone, but you had to choose someone you could outrun. But not a being a smaller girl I eventually I chose someone who looked slower than me. After finding that learner I tapped and ran around the circle and got her spot.

I met students from other schools around the Eastern Cape and they were very nice, and food and transport were provided. I had a greastest time ever and my heart was painful when I had to say goodbye, I nearly cried. Thanks to Bhut' Thozi and awareNet. (Mandilakhe Adam, Grade 11, Benjamin Mahlasela)


2. Romeo & Juliet Production

Lelethu Ginise, Grade 11, Benjamin Mahlasela

Romeo is a story of two lovers from two enemy families. Romeo avenges his friend's killing by killing a member of Juliet's family. He is then banished. Juliet takes a potion that puts her in a coma. Romeo thinks Juliet is dead and takes a poison which kills him.

I would have liked the story more if the production team had stuck to the original script instead of adapting it. I am not familiar with Shakespeare plays but I Ta-Thoz he lived over five hundred years ago and the English then was different then. I wanted to watch his plays in the English of that time. As it is, the story mixed South African lingo with the original text. That did not work for me.

But I loved their use of set. There were crates (the type you put bottles in) that became house walls. They were also used as a field, stairs and door frames. (Lelethu Ginise, Grade 11, Benjamin Mahlasela)


3. General Comment

Andile Mengu, Grade 11, Nathaniel Nyaluza Secondary School
Yho guys i trully had fun at the school festive.I attended about 4 workshops,i dont clearly remember the 1st one but i had fun.I met new peeps there.It was so exitting 2 b there. 


4. Gumboot Gumbol Workshop

Thozi Ngeju, Community Coordinator, VSA
This was a workshop run by two brothers from Grahamstown, Tisco and Mike Mati. They started doing gumboot with three of their friends in 1993. At that time, it was not a career choice but a way of getting quick money from passers by during the National Arts Festival.

They grew in status and went to Sweden where they also cut a demo of Xhosa folk songs. Tisco now works as an official in the District Department of Sport, Recreation, Arts & Culture (DSRAC).

The workshop started with the two giving a background of how gumboot dance started. It was a pasttime of mine workers who had to dance in their gumboots because they were doing it on lunchbreaks and they could not take them off in case they did not have enough time to put them back on.

The point of the workshop was to teach the learners the related dance moves and what they meant to the performer as well as to the watcher. The dance is done to tell a simple story. That story is about how the dance lives or to 'diss' a rival in matters of love.

It was a pleasure for me to watch both Tisco and Mike because I knew them well. Tisco used to take dance classes run by the Rhodes University Drama Department when I worked there as an administrator. I took over from Mike as General Secretary of Grahamstown Central Forum for Arts & Culture in 1998. He then took my place as admnistrator at the Drama Department when I had to leave.


5. `Door` Production

Bulelwa Mbekisa, Grade 11, Benjamin Mahlasela

The Door play is what I liked about the Schools Festival. There was all this door that the dance actors were moving around. One of them was knocking at each and when someone would open they would not want to help the guy.

This shows that you have to knock on many doors and not expect an appointment. Expect instead a DISappointmet.

I was interesting also that the people on stage were using props made of light material so that they could move it around. (Bulelwa Mbekisa, Grade 11, Benjamin Mahlasela)


6. On The Move production

Linda Plaatjie, Grade 11, Benjamin Mahlasela

    Monday was exciting for us. We were able to watch two of the three productions that that day. I liked Physical Theatre Company's 'On The Move'. The production was was presented in physical theatre. It explored the use of the word 'falling' in the English language. There is falling in line, falling asleep, falling in love, falling behind, falling flat, falling short, falling away, and just falling).

    It is impressive how these dancers manage to control the way they use their bodies while throwing themselves around on stage. It makes me think about wrestlers. There must be a method people they use to drop one another or of 'falling'. My body would hurt for a week if I had to drop myself like that. (Linda Plaatjie, Grade 11, Benjamin Mahlasela)


7. Transport

Linda Plaatjie, Grade 11, Benjamin Mahlasela

The transport was the highlight of the experience. The driver was late on Monday. On Tuesday, I spent 14 rands because I thought I was late and took a taxi to Nombulelo Secondary to catch up with the transport.

When I got to Nombelelo I heard that it didnt arrive there. So I took another taxi back to Mahlasela.

He arrived and we had to go to Nombulelo, Nyaluza and was late for the fist show. It was a nice experience though. (Linda Plaatjie, Grade 11, Benjamin Mahlasela)


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awareNet song video shoot - 47.jpg
by: Anna Wertlen
on: 2011-10-25 15:37:42