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AMADODA ESITIMELA (article first published : 2002-06-2)

Vusi Shashu, founder and artistic director of Dedicated Artists Cultural Organisation, staged a preview for potential sponsors and the media of his latest HIV/AIDS awareness play Amadoda Esitimela at the Playhouse on April 24.

The play is about a group of men (and women) who travel by train preaching the gospel of safe sex, abstention and condomising, hence the title which is isiZulu for “men on the train”. “Our job is touring by train telling people about the dreaded disease” one actor told the audience.

The play consists of several short scenes detailing how one contracts the disease, the stigmatization that comes from disclosure of one’s status, how people living with the disease should take care of themselves and ends with a message of hope. The play is peopled by various characters which included a counselor, a priest, a barber, two lovers, school girls and boys and even an African doctor.

The script is full of humour and the musical interludes which contained energetic dhlamu dance breaks were enjoyable.

“The play is ready and we are raring to go. Unfortunately, we haven’t been able to get any funding despite the many applications we’ve forwarded to sponsors, including the KZN Ministry of Health” Shashu said.

John Ramaota, the organisation’s musical director told D’ARTS that he was bitterly disappointed by the rough treatment they had received from local sponsors who never even had the courtesy to reply to their proposal letters.

Once the necessary funding is received, Vusi Shashu intends taking the play all over the province visiting places like prisons, schools, hostels, factories and churches. He also plans to stage the play in the open.




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