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An HIV/Aids movement with spark

I was asked to photographically document an applied theatre project presented in various schools in the Grahamstown townships, for the Rhodes Drama department. My passion lies in documenting people and their livelihoods so I was very interested participating. This is not my first shoot of this nature; I have been documenting applied theatre in the township for two years now and can only say that it is one of the most fulfilling photo shoots I could hope for.

For instance, there is nothing more exciting and pleasing than to hear a large group of school children sing during their morning assembly before class starts. There is an energy around these kids which in indescribable, with the projection of their songs drumming through every classroom and corridor. It leaves you with goose bumps!

Then there are the applied theatre productions. Drama students develop interactive theatre, aimed at raising issues around death, dying, (indeed very gloomy topics) disclosure and the role of hospitals and other helpful organisations. Yes, it’s mainly about HIV/Aids, a topic which urgently needs attention, but one which in this case is tackled in a very creative and very effective manner.

One observes a transformation of the kids and the understanding within just a few hours. Issues are raised and debated in a form of dialogue or acted scenarios, always incorporating the audience.

When we face our horrifying HIV/ Aids statistics, when we have to deal with the uselessness of our own government to implement actions to combat this disease, when all this seems too large to control, suddenly a glimpse of hope arises. There is a youth that cares, there is a youth that is listened to, there is a youth educating the youth.

When returning from these shoots I am both inspired and humbled, it is an experience no one should be left without and my gratitude goes out to those who are organising and presenting these theatre projects and have invited me to be part of this movement.

Have some pictures posted here (more to come).