Curtain call for drug dialogue

The audience listens attentively to the Ulwembu cast.

Wedge Gardens Treatment Centre residents were given much food for thought when a hard-hitting theatre production, courtesy of the Hillbrow Theatre, was brought to them free-of-charge.

Ulwembu, a poignant show about drug addiction, is currently doing the rounds in Gauteng – thanks to funding from the National Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences, whose mandate is to advance and coordinate scholarship, research and ethical practice in the fields of humanities and the social sciences.

The production is the result of two years of research into whoonga (low-grade heroin mixed with dagga and ARVs) and gives the audience the opportunity to walk in the shoes of the ‘misunderstood others’, be it users, dealers, police officers, social workers or parents of drug users.

Adél Grobbelaar, head of the Rand Aid-run centre, believes that the production helped pave the way for honest dialogue among Wedge Gardens’ residents. “It made them look more closely at their own situation and the impact their abuse has had on their lives and on their loved ones,” she said. “It was extremely educational and a real eye-opener.”

Invited guests, including members of the local police, Grade 11s of Sandringham High School, Wedge Gardens aftercare patients, NPOs as well as departmental officials were also in attendance.

Read: A production exploring corruption at Joburg Theatre

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Tshepiso Mametela

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