It was an afternoon of laughs and top-notch entertainment when Drama for Life patron Pieter-Dirk Uys addressed donors at a luncheon.
Uys has a close relationship with Drama for Life (DFL) and Wits University and has recently been appointed the 2012 Wits Carnegie Resident Scholar for the Drama for Life Programme.
The Carnegie Residency aims to facilitate dialogue on transformation and introduce the University community to a range of diverse perspectives on topics of institutional and national concern. Academics and students nominate outstanding individuals who contribute in innovative ways to the process of knowledge formation at Wits.
The donor lunch follows closely after a very successful public lecture by Uys last month, entitled You ANC nothing yet – on the road to Mangaung, which was co-hosted by DFL and the Wits Transformation Office.Uys spoke at length about his upcoming show, set to be staged later this year at the Wits Theatre involving 17 DFL students. The play, entitled The Merry Wives of Zuma, will be a comedy about the state of the nation, promising a different perspective on politics and current issues in the country.
“I have seen the most wonderful young performers, young energies and young graduates in DFL, and I have already cast about 90% of the play from them, which is remarkable,” said Uys. “I have had some interesting reactions from people when they hear the title of the play - they say I am being a racist. Then I say no, I am being a plagiarist, I stole it from Shakespeare!”
Drama for Life (DFL) is a special programme at the Dramatic Arts Division of the Wits School of Arts. Since its official launch in 2008, DFL hosted more than 80 scholars from 17 African countries. It offers Advanced Diploma, Honours, Masters, Post Graduate Diploma and PhD programmes that build capacity in HIV and AIDS Education, Activism and Therapy, Human Rights and Social Justice, Peace Building, Transformation and Diversity Management and Environmental Sustainability through Applied Drama and Theatre Studies.
“Since Drama for Life started in 2008, we provide a rich academic and research programme and in that short time we have graduated 18 postgraduate students. Each and every one of them are doing something important on this continent. That was always our idea – we wanted to develop critical reflexive trainers, and educators in drama and theatre who could go out in difficult circumstances across the continent and work with difficult issues in ways that would be creative, innovate, inspiring and essentially cultivate hope for a future. So I would like to thank all our partner organisations that have walked with us from the beginning. Thank you for the support,” said DFL Director, Warren Nebe.
DFL also hosts an annual Sex Actually Festival and an Africa Research Conference.