Amanda is one of 5 100 000 African teenagers in South Africa coping with the awakening of sexual awareness in a world in which loss of parents due to AIDS, rape by uncles, brothers and others; drugs, dreading HIV infection, crime and teenage pregnancies is the order of the day.
AID the FUTURE has introduced the art of drama into their world. It is a new, creative initiative which provides the facilities for a group of young volunteers to create, in their own words, a stage production portraying the traumatic circumstances of their lives and their determination not to be dragged down into that social quagmire. The dramatic presentations are performed to fellow teenagers and culminate in actors and audience reaching out to each other to create their own mutual moral code, a protective shield of integrity.
“In the eleven years of my involvement in HIV programmes, I have not seen a more powerful tool to address the ills of their environment. Involving the youth to participate in their own development really helps far more than simply putting the “dos and don’ts” that do not make much impact in their lives”. Nkosinati Timbiliti
AID the FUTURE is a revolutionary concept. They find their own solutions. Through the media of their dialogue in dramatic presentations and follow-up discussions they develop an insight and determination to better their circumstances..
The Social Quagmire:
• 30% of all girls–cum-women before the age of 18 have been raped.
• 13.7% of all teenagers, 15 t0 19 year olds are HIV positive.
• There are 1, 9 million AIDS orphans in South Africa.
• 94 000 school girls fell pregnant in 2011.
• 37% of the men in the Gauteng Province admit they have raped at least one woman.
• School girls submit to sugar daddies in order to pay for their schooling, books and uniform.
• There is a prevalent belief among men that intercourse with a virgin can cure them of HIV/AIDS.
Youth Aid Guilds is an innovative initiative reaching up to 1 500 teenagers per guild.
i. Each guild is an original, self-made, artistic youth theatre campaign lasting three weeks.
ii. In each project guild a volunteer group of 12 to 14 high school pupils create, in their own words and plot (story) a stage presentation.
iii. This is then performed to the pupils of five other high schools in the district and each presentation is followed by an intense and constructive discussion between the young actors and their teenager audience about the content of the play.
iv. All young participants – audience and actors – are offered the opportunity to request private and individual counselling by qualified counsellors.
The Xhosa youth leader who led the discussions was overheard to say after the first project;
“It is so clear that the use of theatre has not been thought of until now. This project is such a wise idea that it enabled young people to talk openly about themselves, their challenges and their sexual attitudes and address these issues.”