Athlone youth stage play about District Six

The cast of the From district six to no mans land play which will showcase at Zonnebloem Nest next month.

Youth from the greater Athlone area are excited to perform the play, From District Six to no man’s land, next month.

The show tells the story of how people were removed from District Six and relocated to areas on the Cape Flats, among others.

Dean Scheepers, 25, from Hanover Park, said that the play starts off in District Six where residents lived in peace and were forced to relocate under the Apartheid regime’s Group Areas Act, which was passed in April 1950.

It tells how people had to adapt to their new surroundings and how gangsterism started on the Cape Flats.

“It portrays how innocent people got killed and what people lost and suffered when they had to move. It changed their lives for the worse not better,” he said.

Mr Scheepers plays three roles: Reggie, who is a “gentleman skollie”, Boeta Toyer who sells fish at the market, and Mr Dwana who was relocated to Langa and experiences traumatic events.

Clinton van Harte, 27, also from Hanover Park, plays the roles of Bobby, a security guard at the Billiard club, Paul who is a school teacher who encourages pupils to stand up against by-laws, and a policeman.

He said before getting involved in the play, he hadn’t known much about District Six, but that changed.

“It is something quite big for me to be performing in a such a large scale play. I am very excited about this,” he said.

Writer and director of the play, Jasmina Salie, said she wrote the play because of her passion for working with youth and keeping them off the streets by teaching them new skills.

“Plays of today always include actors who are already known to the industry and in that way they are not teaching skills to new people — people who need to gain experience. Our main challenge so far has been funding and finding sponsors,” she said.

The play will showcase at the Zonnebloem Nest on Saturday November 17, at the District Six Homecoming Centre on Saturday December 15, at the Baxter Theatre from Thursday to Saturday December 20 to 22 and at the Athlone civic centre on Friday February 1, next year.

“These are hard working children and it is important for youth to seek out opportunities and not just expect handouts. My desire is to travel the country with this play with them.

“They are dedicated and consistent and they look forward to acting on stage,” she said.