During the first week, all four teams worked and learned together. They did drama classes and dance rehearsals as one team. One team, Ikageng, is the group that stays on the campground for the year and facilitates for groups coming in. Change Agents is a team that does drama and dance in Zulu. They work in the Kwa-Zulu Natal province, which is where almost everyone is of the Zulu culture and speaks Zulu. iThemba, Zulu for Hope, is the team that goes to Germany. They consist of 3 smaller teams that will travel separately once they are in the country. Finally, the team that Khanyisa is training is called Buyela, which means Return. This team will travel around the whole country of South Africa and possibly other southern countries. Each of these teams has a different program that they present and a different audience to capture.


Mel and I didn’t have a rehearsal for one of the dance sessions, but a dance workshop with three of the teams. We based it on the class that Ballet Magnificat! did with us on the Expression weekend. We first talked about the fruits of the spirit. We had found Bible stories that represented each fruit and split the kids into 9 groups. Each group had to dance their story without rehearsing. Mel chose a different song for each group and they were so heartfelt.

For dance and drama rehearsals, the teams have separated and Buyela has been working on our own dances for the production. We are using all original music except for a Michael Jackson song or two. Mel has been so excited about the one song that she’s been working on it since before we left Tallahassee. The team learned the first part of it today. The main character in the story is trying to make a life choice; does he give in to peer pressure to party and be loose like his friends (and his father), taking the risk of contracting AIDS, OR does he do what his heart says and be pure, honoring the memory of his mother who died of AIDS. The song works so perfectly with the confusion and tension that this character, Mpho, is dealing with. The lyrics say “Everyone’s taking control of me/feels like the world’s got a hold on me/ I’m so confused will you show to me/you’ll be there for me.” The team learns so quickly! It still amazes me how they want to rehearse the dance “one more time” before going to supper. The last section they learned today places Mpho center stage with the other 11 people in a semi-circle around him. The guy playing Mpho has such intensity in his face. His eyes cry out with MJ’s voice for someone to tell him the right choice, someone to be there for him. Our team manager, Blessing, Michael Mel and I cried when we saw the dance. And this is only the first half! The team members don’t even know what the production is about at this point and THEY were crying! This play will be so powerful. Please pray with us that the LORD will go before us and prepare our hearts and bodies for the emotional strain we will endure which comes naturally with a topic so intimate as the love of a father.

Michael was able to do some research with the group, asking about their experience with HIV/AIDS. He asked questions like -How would you react if someone close to you told you said they had AIDS? -Have you ever known anyone who suffered with AIDS? -What do people expect when they go to a bar or to a party? We must know the way young people think and speak if we Americans are going to direct a play about teenagers in South Africa.

We just gave our team the script tonight. They read through about half of it together and we will read the rest tomorrow night.. They all said the script sounds awesome and they can’t wait to get started. Michael is busy writing more scenes, cutting the longer scenes and placing the songs within the dialogue. Now that we have a solid idea of who will play each character, I am getting more excited and inspired. Our group is unbelievably talented and eager to get started. I pray for humble spirits and for unselfishness as the weeks go on. This production is technically a musical, with a few live songs, loads of dancing and passionate acting.



Leave a Reply.