DFL Human Rights and Social Justice
The DFL Human Rights and Social Justice Project started in 2009 as the “Drama for Life Zimbabwe Project”. The project aimed to contribute at normalising the Zimbabwean social and political situation, as well as promote democracy. The project targeted Zimbabweans living in diaspora, as well as those living in the country.
Realising that Human Rights and Social Justice are topics that also need to be discussed in a South African and African context, DFL decided to change the project’s title to “Human Rights and Social Justice Project” to be more inclusive.
In September 2008, the acclaimed Robert F. Kennedy Centre for Justice and Human Rights chose Drama for Life to take part in their project Speak Truth to Power. DFL Alumni, Ndiyapo Machacha staged the play Speak Truth to Power by Ariel Dorfman for RFK President Kerry Kennedy and several human rights defenders. The play is based on a book by Kerry Kennedy who interviewed several human rights defenders on their view of the important topic. In 2011 DFL was chosen to host one of their most popular exhibitions with photographs from Human Rights activists taken by Pulitzer-Prize winner Eddie Adams.
Besides cooperating with the RFK Centre for Justice and Human Rights, the DFL Human Rights and Social Justice Project had several major successes in 2011. Four human right plays – including ZIMBO! directed by former DFL-scholar Bhekilizwe Bernard Ndlovu (a Zimbabwe Protest Theatre) – were performed at the well-known Maitisong Festival in Botswana. ZIMBO! also travelled to Swaziland.
In July 2011 Drama for Life hosted the performance Rituals from the NAMA 2009 Outstanding Theatrical Production Award winning duet of acclaimed Zimbabwean author Stephen Chifunyise and director, Daves Guzha.
In 2012 the Human Rights and Social Justice Project took part in the Human Rights Season commencing in February 2012 and showcased two plays running by the titles of ZIMBO! and February 32nd Movement. In September the DFL Human Rights and Social Justice Project hosted a mini festival with the title of DFL Human Rights and Social Justice Arts Experience were it presented artistic works that spoke to current human rights and social justice issues.
In 2013 The DFL Human Rights and Social Justice Season was curated by DFL alumnis and ficilator Chaer Halley and challenged the topic "Disabling (Dis)Ability". This season is not only for those who are disabled themselves, this season is for the entire Wits community so as to open ourselves up to these issues pertaining our Human Rights and Disability."Cherae said, "Too often we focus on the poor attention paid to our own rights, but this season is a time for us to shift focus towards the poor attention paid to the rights of any disabled person. It is an experiential season, a reflective season as well as a thought provoking season." The season contained two theatre shows, a site specific installation, panel discussions, and workshops all leading up to the question: "What are you doing for Human Rights day in the sector of disability?"
This year's Human Rights and Social Justice stands under the motto of "What's missing is You - Your Health, Your Life" and will tackle the problem of how in a population of over 60 million, there is a huge gap in mental health care and a momentous burden of unmet mental health needs. The season wil launch spaces of dialogie about the significance of mental health within an academic environment. In a variety of installations, talks and performances the program will aim to encourage members of the WIts student community towards taking account of their well-being. The program will present ways in which the participants hopefully relate with the subjects of health and access to healthcare.
For further information please contact Caryn Green: Caryn.Green@wits.ac.za.