Actor ploughs back

Khayalethu Anthony.

Awarding-winning actor and playwright, Khayalethu Anthony, is now focusing on empowering young and up-and-coming storytellers from the township through his newly launched NGO, uSiba nePhepha.

The 31-year-old Site B resident said he felt the need to give back to society and unearth new writers.

Mr Anthony broke into the industry in 2011 through the Baxter Theatre’s Zabalaza Festival. He made a name for himself through an award-winning one hander, titled Champion.

His first professional acting role was opposite internationally acclaimed actor, Dame Janet Suzman, in Lara Foot’s play, Solomon and Marion.

Mr Anthony told Vukani he wanted to share his knowledge and techniques of formulating a play with those less fortunate.

He said there were no workshops and programmes in the township to empower budding writers.

Mr Anthony said he was concerned about the poor standard of plays produced by emerging township artists. He attributed that to the lack of skills.

However, he said there were many gifted playwrights who had given up due to limited opportunities.

He said it was critical that writers were given a proper and solid foundation to hone their skills.

Mr Anthony said he wanted to produce stories that highlight the positive aspects of the township, not just the poverty and crime.

He is planning to work with 10 budding writers for a year and produce 10 plays that would be staged on various art platforms.

“We need to write stories from our perspective. For too long our stories have been documented by outsiders and have been narrated in their own way. Yes, there are social issues in our communities, but there are dozens of positive stories that have not been told,” said Mr Anthony.

“The reason I am able to write constructive plays is because I had to attend a lot of writing workshops.”

Mr Anthony said the training would be free, but he is appealing for public and business support.

“I call upon business people to assist us in whatever way they can. We want to own the stories of our communities and preserve them,” he said.

Mr Anthony said he wanted writers to pen stories in their mother tongue to keep African languages alive.

He said one of the challenges most writers grappled with was that they were not paid well.

Instead, he said actors and other people involved in the play are paid decent salaries.

He said often writers are told that they will get a certain percentage of the entry fee but this was the person who might have not slept for days jotting down the play.

He firmly believes that the industry needs to transform so that it could enable black artists in particular a chance and platform to stage their plays at major arts festivals.