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STRANGERS (article first published : 2006-03-25)

Some 20 children from Ekhaya Multi Arts Centre in Kwa Mashu will feature in Strangers, a film based on Bonolo Cebe's winning story written for SABC Education's 2006 Ciak Junior writing competition. Strangers is the heartwarming story of two young abandoned sisters who leave their rural home to find their mother in the city.

Bonolo (14) flew in from Port Elizabeth to Durban to participate in a scripting and acting workshop with 20 children chosen by the Ekhaya Multi Arts Centre. The children spent time in a number of brainstorming sessions where they came up with new innovative ideas for Bonolo's story. The children were given an opportunity to act out their storyline ideas in front of the cameras.

Jacqui Hlongwane-Papo, project manager at SABC Education explains: “The children fleshed out Bonolo's original story adding in new ideas. Our production company Mindpool Productions took the children's ideas and worked on them with a scriptwriter, transforming the children's story into a film script. The children chosen by Ekhaya Multi Arts Centre are all so talented, we decided to give all 20 of them a part in the film, be it big or small. Nine-year-old Thobile Sibiya has been chosen to play the second lead female role in Strangers with Bonolo. When cute, talented Thobile heard the news she was at a complete loss for words, she has no idea where Italy is and has never flown before.”

Sthembele Moloi will play the lead male character in Strangers which will be filmed in Durban in the middle of April. Bonolo, Thobile, Sthembele and the other 18 children will meet the film crew and gain further insight into the world of film.

When the film is finished, it will be sent to Italy to be judged with others from around the world. Bonolo and Thobile will be flown to Italy at the end of May where they will attend the Ciak Junior Awards Ceremony, meet other story and film makers from around the world and get to see some of the beautiful country of Italy.

The Ciak Junior competition gives children aged between 10 and 15 the chance to write stories that are important to them, and have them made into a short film which is shown on television. South Africa has won the competition for the past two years.




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