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JUST DON’T … DO CRIME (article first published : 2006-09-25)

Just Don’t … Do Crime is an original theatrical piece with a strong anti-crime message written and directed by Edmund Mhlongo from Durban’s K-Caps and performed by a group of young people from KwaMashu, Durban, all of whom have served prison sentences..

“Prison is a life-changing experience but in some instances people don’t change after serving long sentences in jail but come out and continue with their anti-social activities,” says K-Caps’ publicist, Xolani Chris Majozi. “But for the Just Don’t cast members, prison was a place where their lives changed completely. They went in as trouble-makers and came out of the experience as responsible members of the community and role models of KwaMashu. To do away with crime was not good enough for them. Instead they wanted to warn other youth that crime does not pay.”

The KwaMashu group approached internationally-acclaimed Durban-based playwright, Edmund Mhlongo, to assist them in staging a drama on crime awareness. Edmund supported their initiative and began adapting a script about crime to incorporate some of their own stories, lessons and experiences. The Just Don’t drama is a story of the male prisoner, Fikile, who is wrongly accused for raping a 10-year girl Zanele in KwaMashu and serves a ten year sentence in Westville prison – under appeal. (See review in Drama archives – use the in-house Google Search)

In the 13 years of its operation, K-Caps is a major success story. It started in October 1993 and since then, Edmund Mhlongo has produced seven internationally-acclaimed productions which have toured intensively throughout South Africa and overseas.

He is currently about to open a new musical theatre piece about the life and times of Inkosi Albert Luthuli. His previous productions include We Are Alive which focused on street children in Durban and toured Denmark and London in 1996; Cry Not Child about the effects of landmines on children of Angola, Mozambique and Bosnia (toured UK in 1997), Our Voice, Our Rights dealing with child labour awareness (performed in England in 1999) and Bayede Shaka: The Spear Is Born.

Just Don’t was invited by the City Council of Leeds, the twin city with Durban, to tour the production in April, 2006, where it was staged at the Leeds University as well as at schools, prison and various festivals. The production has also had a Durban season at the Playhouse on its return in May.

Just Don’t … Do Crime runs at the Tesson at the Johannesburg Civic Theatre from September 27 until October 1. Tickets R50 at Computicket and at the theatre.

For more information on K-CAP @ Ekhaya Multi Arts Centre, contact Xolani Chris Majozi on 031 504 6970, e-mail: xolanimajozi@gmail.com or visit www.ekhayaartcentre.co.za




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