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DFL reaches to Soweto schools

- By Refilwe Mabula

A cohort of teachers and community artists in Soweto will acquire new skills to address psychosocial challenges experienced by learners and schools through the Drama for Life (DFL) training in Applied Drama and Theatre Methodologies in partnership with the Mvuso School and Community Education Project. 

The cohort will be trained to assist learners from Soweto schools to confront and solve contemporary social issues and challenges.

The opening of the training project, now in its fourth year, was attended by a representative from the Johannesburg Central District Department of Education, practising artists, community members and project sponsors. 

Mashooda Ismail from the Department of Education delivered the keynote address, highlighting the importance of social cohesion in education and the role of the Mvuso project in achieving this goal. "Social cohesion plays such an important role, it is one of the ten pillars that our new strategic plan is based on and the DFL Mvuso project fits in snuggly into that social cohesion objective." 

“The value that this project brings to the few schools it touches is in its own way invaluable".

Due to the success of the programme, the Department has extended it to more schools in order to spread its impact, said Ishmail.

Tamara Gordon-Roberts, Mvuso Project Director said the project "has been successful in fostering collaboration between teachers and community artists in the face of extraordinary psychosocial challenges. The project has received a Service Excellence award from the Gauteng Department of Education. We are very proud of Mvuso and believe in its potential to continue to grow". 

To demonstrate the concept of applied drama, Themba Interactive, performed a piece on substance abuse at schools, during the opening session.

The performance encouraged audience-participation, and was followed by a discussion on how to address social challenges such as substance abuse which are prevalent in schools.

Patrick Vhulani, a teacher from Vhumani Secondary School believes that drama is one way to address these social challenges at schools.

He said it is important to support learner talents outside of studies and the Mvuso project assisted with unlocking such talent.

The new performances developed as aresult of the training will be showcased at a special Mvuso function and the top three acts on that day will perform for wider audiences at the end of September at the Roodeport Theatre.