Ethekwini Will Never be the same Again – thanks to Bana ba Bongi

So, the last time I blogged about the drama troupe I have so much confidence in, Bana Ba Bongi was before they sojourned to Ethekwini for their overdue initiation into the world of thespians at The Playhouse. In Sepedi they say, ‘le kobja le sale meetse, ge le ka oma le ya hlaba’. Well, this is one of those proverbs without an English translation – however if I have to try it says that clay can be molded into anything only while wet.

So, with these kids that’s exactly what community builders and committed teachers Nkoto Malebye and Zakhona Mogane are doing – catching them young like sardines. The brains of these kids are still at that stage where anything can be inculcated and made to stick. That’s the same age Hitler Youth were introduced to a doctrine of hate.

The first time I saw Baba ba Bongi stage a show was their inaugural performance infront of their parents and invited guests at Narishe Primary School. You could see that they were still pretty rough in the edges while the hunger for knowledge was disarming. However roughness is romantic when it’s on a diamond. It means that the value of the stone is still locked – is it 9, 18 or more carats? Or maybe it’s the elusive blue diamond.

So, I am reliably informed that the kids went to Ethekwini and had a ball. The last time I had a conversation with Nkoto I gathered that while it should be an educational trip for the young thespians it should also open the world for them. They need to have fun. They need to know that there’s a body of salty water called sea which does not swallow people as legend has it. They need to interact with like-minded people in the industry. They need to be told by someone they respect – probably someone they might have seen on television such as Nthati Moshesh or Sello Maake ka Ncube that they have potential.

Well, that’s a story for another day. That’s still to happen I reckon. They’ll still meet lots of them in the future. However I am told that they went to Ethekwini, had two performances, went out, attended shows, went to the art gallery, went to the Bat Centre, Moses Mabhida Stadium, the beach and various other spots in Ethekwini that a tourist from inland would like to visit.

They went there and had fun. The snapshots, which we are taking a please of sharing with you show a bunch of naïve children smiling at every frame. Happiness was indeed the theme. You felt you could freeze their little smiles and their optimism forever.

Now back home they shared with their parents what they showed the world. It was my second time seeing these confident kids perform and I was humbled. I wasn’t humbled because they are local kids. I was humbled because I have seen people perform and bowl the world – however I have never seen people this young do it with so much commitment that the following day I told Nkoto and Zakhona that I pray that the pedophiles in our community do not derail them.

I believe these kids deserve all the love, care, attention and altruistic spirit they can get from their teachers and society at large. They need to look at older males and see their brothers, uncles and fathers and not perverts out to give them babies and HIV.

I felt sad because there is no place called careful where we could just take these young talents and groom them far from prying lusty eyes.

That aside, I could put my dime that while millions will be called and a few chosen; if these kids continue at this pace millions might be called and millions chosen. They deserve all the success in the world. The world is their oyster – Shakespeare would have said.

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