There are many unsung heroes in Khayelitsha who devote their time to mentoring the youth and scouting the wealth of talent in the area.
Abongile Kroza was one such person, say the members of Theatre2Change, the theatre group and non-governmental organisation he founded. Mr Kroza was only 26 when he died tragically in a car accident in 2012, but he had already made a name for himself by nurturing and supporting young artists.
A UCT graduate, Mr Kroza was deeply involved in several theatre productions, such as Old Brown Joe, Tears of our Ancestors in a Calabash and others. He was also a mascot during the 2010 Soccer World Cup and entertained the crowds at Cape Town Stadium.
He was instrumental in the fight against gangsterism and was a judge and a mentor in the Vukani Spoken Word Competition.
To commemorate the fifth anniversary of Mr Kroza’s death, the theatre group has organised the Abongile Kroza One-Handers Festival (AKOF). The three-day festival kicks off on Friday March 24 and runs until Sunday March 26, at Makukhanye Art Centre, in Site B.
A feast of poetry, music and drama, the festival promises to unearth a rich new seam of creative talent, and the organisers hope to make it an annual event.
Mandisi Sindo, chairman of Theatre2Change and one of Mr Kroza’s friends, praised him for dedicating so much of life to finding and nurturing raw talent.
Many of the local artists Mr Kroza mentored, said Mr Sindo, were now pursuing studies in performing arts at various institutions of higher learning. But despite that, too few people knew of his contribution to society.
He described Abosh, as he was known, as a versatile and talented performer, and, as a music producer, he discovered well-known hip hop artist Phizo.
The theatre group wants to use the festival to create jobs and introduce art to the township. The main aim, though, is to give budding artists a chance to shine.
Mr Sindo said they would be helping to train and mentor interested artists ahead of the festival.
“Abongile and I were very close in school from Standard 1. We had similarities, and I guess that is why our friendship was so strong,” said Sindo. “We both loved acting, and that is why we had to push each other to go study theatre at UCT. I miss him every day, especially when young people drown themselves into alcohol and drugs. I know he could have saved many lives.
“This event is the only way to show him how much we loved and appreciated his effort and presence.” The theatre group’s deputy chairperson, Khayalethu Anthony, said some proceeds from ticket sales would to Mr Kroza’s family, while the rest would be used to fund the next event.
The tickets for the show cost R30 for one day or R80 for the whole show. Contact Mandisi Sindo at 076 035 9672 for more information.