Matshediso School in Tsakane warmly receives cast of touring theatre play Mama I Want The Black that You Are

By Edward Tsumele

The cast of critically acclaimed theatrical production Mama I Want the Black that You Are, were warmly received by learners of Matshediso LSEn School in Tsakane, Brakpan, yesterday, September 22, 2021, following the producers of the show’s decision to screen the play there.

The school which caters for intellectually impaired learners from the surrounding township of Tsakane also had an opportunity to learn more about people living with the condition of Albinism, a common condition affecting a sizeable population in communities.

Mama I want the Black That You Are deals with prejudices that such people face in communities, including discrimination and sometimes even threats of being killed for muti purposes by superstitious people who out of ignorance, believe that killing a a person with such a condition will bring wealth into their lives.

The play’s producer  Mpho Molepo (his father Arthur Molepo who could not make it yesterday, due to other commitments, is the director of the play) addressed the learners in a hall, telling them about the purpose of the visit and the play that was going to be screened instead of a live performance due to Covid-19 restrictions and limitations to live shows. After Mpho’s address, a medical doctor, Dr. Thabiso Tshabalala, a lecturer at Wits Medical School, took the podium and explained in simple terms, what caused the Albinism condition, and the fact that the condition has different types.

After the doctor’s presentation, which seemed to have been fairly grasped by the attentive learners, the production played on a big screen and the learners appeared to be absorbed by the production as they never moved until at the very end of the show. And when it was time to interact and ask the cast questions, they asked relevant, and sometimes uncomfortable questions about the behaviour of some of the characters in the play, especially the ones playing the roles of those who discriminate against those with this condition that affects the skin, the hair and eyes. This suggested that they empathised with Matlakala, the main character played by lifestyle TV show host and actress Puleng Molebatsi, who is victimised and threatened with death by communities simply because she has the Albinism condition.

Molebatsi, who in real life has this condition, is a talented actress who makes the character she plays relatable to those watching. This fact was not lost by the learners yesterday.

The screening of Mama I want the Black that You Are is sponsored by the National Lottery Commission.

“We are thankful that the producers of this play brought it here, because this school’s learners are intellectually challenged and in many ways, also directly suffer discrimination in society and are also aware of the existence of people who look different from the rest of us because of the Albinism condition. We are really grateful that our learners had this opportunity to watch this play,” said the school’s social worker Nomvula Ndlovu.

Ndlovu explained that the school has different programmes meant to empower the learners with different skills such as baking, woodwork, brick making, visual art and food gardening, among other skills.

“We would love to have a sports ground built here because our learners love sport, but the school is short of sporting facilities. Some of four our kids were even in the Special Olympics, and that is how good they are. We are appealing to sponsors out there to sponsor the construction of a sports field for our learners as we have a vacant land for that purpose at the school,”  appealed the social worker.

When the screening ended and questions were answered, some of the learners could not immediately leave for lunch meals as they still lingered to chat and take pictures with the cast. It must have been indeed a special treat for them for Mama I want the Black That You Are to be screened at their school.

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