Art is often seen as a tool to create the world a better place. This has been affirmed during UP’s recent Anti Discrimination Week, which ran from the 26 to 30 September.
The UPTransformation Office and second-year BDram students used the performing arts as a platform to address social matters students are faced with on a regular basis, such as stalking, gender-based violence, racism and discrimination against those living with disabilities. According to famed American statesman, Robert F. Kennedy, a lack of education, old age, ill health and discrimination are the causes of poverty, and the way to attack it is to go to the root. Taking a walk through UP’s many beautiful hallways , you are bound to find people from all corners of our beautiful country. The buzz you often come across at the Aula grass consists of many different languages, cultures, genders and personalities – and that is what makes it so beautiful, isn’t it? However, many students still face ‘othering’ for being different, or for straying from the “norm.” Discrimination remains the root of several societal issues we face on and off campus, daily.
The Transformation Office strives to fight this discrimination (and try solve any other issues regarding the well-being of students). They can be located on campus and are on all social-media platforms (@speakoutup). According to second-year BDram student, Wiannê Fourie, “I was never aware of how influential and evident these matters were until we started researching [them]. I am so glad we were given the opportunity to raise awareness. I believe that is where change starts”. According to another second-year student, Nzuzo Dlamini, they rehearsed their performances for more than five weeks and spent a lot of time researching, interviewing and observing people on campus in-order to depict a true sense of reality on-stage.
The plays seen during this week were, in order, “Unseen”, which told the stories of people living with disabilities and how they are faced with the same struggles as able-bodied persons; “UPeople”, which discussed the issue of racism and its many side-effects, such as language-exclusion and tribalism; “Blame”, which unpacked the struggles of gender-based violence and how this problem is often more complex than meets the eye; “Nothing Happened”, which exposed how gender-based violence is often overlooked in our social-circles; “Around the Corner”, which moved its audiences with a shocking storyline about how serious an issue stalking could be if not dealt with; and, finally, “Gastronomies”, which revealed the snowball-effect of the ever-growing class-divide and resulting power-imbalance here in South Africa.
These plays sparked conversation among audience members, leaving them to ponder the seriousness of these matters and how it is our responsibility to make change in our environment. “Be the change”, Gandhi once said, “that you wish to see in the world”. For more information, contact the Transformation Office via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or WhatsApp (012 420 8404).
DigitalManager and Dylan Botha
Originally published on the PDBY Website: Drama Students Speak the Unspoken