10 May 2016A small amateur cricket club in Limpopo is changing the game for the region’s kids on the field. Meet the Oaks Cricket Club. A new documentary and crowdfunding project takes the story of this positive community project to the world.Established in 1996, inspired by the South African cricket team’s successes after re-admittance to the international game, the Oaks youth cricket team started out small and humble in the village of Ga-Sekororo, part of the Maruleng district, with only rudimentary equipment and makeshift playing fields.Coach Cavaan Moyakamela, an alumni of the team, tutors and guides disadvantaged boys and girls between the ages of 14 and 19 from townships on the basics of cricket, instilling a love for the intricacies of the game, and gives them the opportunity to take their minds off their daily hardships.Moyakamela told community newspaper, Letaba Herald that the club priority has always been to create a safe, fun environment for the local youth, while offering an opportunity for the kids to learn about fitness and healthy living, but also gain discipline and respect that team sport offers.The club currently provides cricket training to over 80 kids, and despite the massive financial and social challenges they face, the team has progressed from strength to strength, playing against other school teams in the region with great success, creating an enthusiastic buzz amongst local residents.With the help of an award-winning filmmaker and a local journalist, the club is now eager to tell the world its story in an effort to create awareness for the power of grassroots sport initiatives and earn some much needed sponsorship. The money will be used to improve the club’s playing fields, buy new equipment and take its members on national tours to play against other youth cricket teams.South African Film and Television Award winning producer of local film hit Dis Ek, Anna, Niel van Deventer, and Letaba Herald journalist, Hendrik Hancke, have begun the Field of Dreams initiative as a way to generate interest in the club. They also seek financing and sponsorship for the documentary, which highlights the club and its rich history.While the story of the Oaks has now become legendary in the Limpopo province, inspiring local businesses and individuals to play their part in the form of sponsorships and other support for the club’s teams, Hancke and Van Deventer have now released a trailer for the documentary-in-progress on YouTube to gain wider exposure for the team. They have also started a crowdfunding project on Indiegogo’s Generosity fundraising website.The initiative has even caught the attention of former Proteas bowler Meyrick Pringle, who tweeted support of the club’s plans.Let’s help raise some funds. Inbox me please. https://t.co/n2iTdeK1fa— Meyrick Pringle (@MeyrickPringle) May 6, 2016While funds raised so far have been small, including donations from as far as New Zealand and the UK, the initiative hopes that as the story of the club’s success and contribution to the community spreads, the more funding will follow. The first part of the plan is to send the club on their inaugral national tour, to play youth teams in Eastern Cape over the next year.Watch the documentary trailer here and visit the Field of Dreams Generosity crowdfunding page for more information.
This is for Keeps was workshopped by veteran theatre producers Vanessa Cooke, Janice Honeyman and Danny Keogh, and adapted by Makgano Mamabolo, Sello Motloung and Ntshieng Mokgoro.(Image: Windybrow Theatre)Ntshieng Mokgoro believes the theatre can be a safe place for men to learn new ways of dealing with their changing roles in South African society.(Image: Sulaiman Philip)MEDIA CONTACTS• Tsakani ManganiMarketing OfficerWindybrow Theatre+27 11 720 7009RELATED ARTICLES• Launch of 16 Days campaign against gender violence • Finding a place for female playwrights • A thousand South African voices against gender violence• Giving a voice to victims of abuse • South Africans rise against rapeSulaiman PhilipTense and claustrophobic, This is for Keeps drops the audience into the middle of a home and marriage where violence and control are the norm. Director, Ntshieng Mokgoro, has been work-shopping the play for almost a year and it will run until 8 December at the Windybrow Theatre in Johannesburg’s Hillbrow.Initially she wanted her run to begin in June but the harrowing drama about domestic violence works better as South Africa turns the spotlight on the impact of violence against women in November and December. Although not part of the official 16 Days of Activism programme, the work highlights the long road women still have to travel to enjoy equal protection promised under the constitution.“South Africa women still have too many of these stories to tell. We have programmes … but nothing really changes. Women are still targets because we sugar coat so much. As a mother, woman and artist I wanted to find a way to tell a story that says women are still at the end of the stick.”The play’s success is dependent on the quality of the performances and in her two actors – Sello Motloung and Harriet Manamela – Mokgoro has performers who do not flinch from the unpleasant plots. Both are best known as soapie actors but they have developed an intimacy that makes the physical and verbal abuse even more shocking.“Sello wanted to go soft when he should be releasing the dark ferocious monster. He wanted to charm the audience into complacency. It’s an argument we constantly had. I wanted to be visceral, to shock the audience into starting a debate.”In the original 1983 Market Theatre production, a white couple’s violent relationship is laid bare. that production identifies poverty as the root of the violence used to control the female lead. Fast forward 30 years and Mokgoro and her cast tweak the story in an interesting and controversial way.Are women complicit?Mokgoro begins by accepting that abuse is a crime, a rampant black mark on the soul of our nation. However, she argues, it has become far too easy to just point fingers at abusive men without asking why our society has become so violent.“We should be beyond just criminalising their behaviour; the discussion should not end there. Are we as women complicit in the helplessness black South African men feel today? I believe it’s a discussion we need to have.”We have neglected black men Mokgoro says. “We have empowered women; we are constantly reminding girl children that they are special. We need balance. We need to let men and boys know that they are an integral part of this journey.”Mokgoro says that she did not want to just unpack the psychology of male violence for her audience. She did not want to give theatre goers a cheap violent cathartic thrill. She wanted them to be shocked into asking the question, “Have we been complicit in shunting black men to the side. Have we robbed them of their identity while embracing our roles as breadwinners?”Campaigns such as 16 Days of Activism have their place the director says, but we need to be having the discussion year round. We say we applaud strong women who stand up and say that violence against women must end; we say we must return to values of ubuntu, but at the end of the campaign we go back to business as usual.“I know women, strong successful women who stand up and give speeches against violence. We all applaud but then they go home to husbands who abuse them. How can these women really help make a change?”The root of her provocative staging stems from Mokgoro’s other theatre work. She has long championed the role of female directors and the telling of female-centric stories and has staged works with similar themes. She says that without fail, after every performance an audience member pulls her aside to thank Mokgoro for telling her story.Mokgoro argues that South Africans find it is easier to deal with issues in an abstract way. Many families don’t know how to begin the conversation about the abuse they are aware of, but they will bring someone along to watch a play like This is for Keeps, hoping that it starts a discussion.Mokgoro believes theatre’s power lies in its ability to unlock silence. She identifies herself as a feminist director and wants her adaptation to begin a debate.“If anyone, having seen the show, feels able to ask the question of a friend or neighbour, or to say that it’s happened to them before, then maybe we can make a small difference.”This is for Keeps opens at the Windybrow Theatre on 26 November at 8pm.
Essential Reading! Get my first book: The Only Sale Guide You’ll Ever Need “The USA Today bestseller by the star sales speaker and author of The Sales Blog that reveals how all salespeople can attain huge sales success through strategies backed by extensive research and experience.” Buy Now The blog metrics plugin in my WordPress install reports that this is my 2,000th blog post. It tells me that the words that I have written total 1,472,090 (but that plugin doesn’t count the 100 or so newsletters that I have written over the last 2 years). Here is what I’ve learned.I have been learning. There is no better way to discover what you know and what you believe that tops writing. The act of writing forces you to think things through. It forces you to make decisions. You are what you write, and you become what you write at the same time. I am still learning.I have been practicing. I am still not a great writer. But I am better than I was when I started writing daily, five years ago. It is nearly impossible not to gain some greater competency when you do something deliberately every day for years. I have been practicing writing, and I have been practicing what I write. All the great masters were practicing. You can practice too.I have been growing. I am a different person than I was five years ago. I have grown both personally and professionally, and a good part of that growth has come through writing and posting here, as well as the work that has come to me through this vehicle. Growing is something you do forever.I have been serving. I still hear from some people who reject the idea that you should share your ideas freely. They believe everything is a secret unless and until someone pays you. I disagree. Every week I receive emails from people who have been helped by something that I have shared here. Sharing is one way you make a contribution.I have been practicing awareness. You don’t know how many great ideas pass through you until you start writing every day. Once you start to need ideas, you start to become aware of just how many good (and bad, and fair, and exceptional) ideas pass through you. The demand for ideas creates a vigilance, and constant awareness (and a notebook). There is power in noticing what has your attention.I have been improvising. I am still improvising. My plan was to write every day, and other than a list of big ideas, I’ve had nothing else to guide me, except for a few role models. You don’t have to wait until you have the perfect plan to start. You just have to start.I have been making a ruckus. With a hat tip to Seth Godin. I have shared my ideas and my art. I have created work and put it out into the world. Seth always talks about the fear of being judged, and you will be criticized. But the people you want to reach will find you, and you them.I have created a body of work. What I have written is my work. The first book to come from the ideas here will be printed in 2015. But there are a half a dozen more books that will follow, all of which have come from work that started here. There are also the roots of some of the frameworks and methodologies I have created here. Your work is trapped inside you until you free it.I have been building relationships. I have made new friends. I have reconnected with old friends. I have developed new business relationships, many that have helped me create new relationships with people from around the world. There is nothing more important than relationships, and the people who you need to know and who need to know you can be anywhere on Earth.