Scribes seeded in folklore

The winners of the 2016 SCrIBE Scriptwriting Competition were announced at an awards ceremony last Friday.

Nokuzola Zoe Bikwana’s No Christmas For Us and Milton Schorr’s The Heroin Diaries were announced as the overall winners of the annual competition, following a week of professional staged readings featuring four finalists.

The other finalists were Carla Lever for her script Food For Thought and Mark Tatham for Man Up.

Produced by the Imbewu Trust and now marking its fifth year, SCrIBE is a national competition which provides the opportunity for playwrights to develop their work.

Speaking at the awards ceremony, co-founder of the Imbewu Trust Samantha de Romijn said that the standard of the top plays this year had been especially high.

“It’s hard to use the word ‘awards’ as we aim for all the finalists to take away with them a valuable experience of exchange and input about their script.

As the SCrIBE competition has evolved, we have realised the importance of adapting the prizes for the maximum benefit to the recipients – whether that is a mentorship writing programme, script development opportunities or hosting a full production of the play.

“Nokuzola’s and Milton’s scripts were compelling stories, wonderfully told and with huge potential to be crafted into a theatrical experience,” says de Romijn.

“We are delighted to announce that the Zabalaza team, who staged the reading of No Christmas for Us, has expressed interest in hosting the play, and the Imbewu Trust will be lending its support to the forthcoming run of The Heroin Diaries at Alexander Bar, directed by Fred Abrahamse.

Bikwana’s No Christmas For Us explores the events that took place in Nyanga in December 1976 which culminated in extreme violence between township residents and migrants, otherwise known as hostel dwellers.

A reminder of the history of this part of the township that is seldom narrated, it makes us consider as a sad reminder the more recent parallels of the xenophobic attacks that still plague our nation.

Bikwana, an English teacher who started writing at the age of nine, was raised in Nyanga.

She holds two Honours Degrees in History and Public Administration and has studied at UCT, UWC and Stellenbosch Universities.

“The script was based on my Honours history thesis about the events in Nyanga in 1976, which are less well known than those in Soweto.

I wanted to find a broader audience to talk about these important events, which have parallels that resonate with all South Africans, young and old.

This was evident in the comments from the audience that attended the readings. We hope that this play will get South Africa talking and will help in the memorialisation of our histories as a nation,” says Bikwana.

“I am feeling excited about being a winner and very positive about the comments I received to help shape the text.”

In Milton Schorr’s The Heroin Diaries we meet Craig, a heroin dealer.

At age 34, he’s already been a drug addict for 20 years. Finally, his lifestyle catches up with him. He is planning to ‘check out’ quietly, the way he always knew he would, by taking an overdose.

But when Leila,16, arrives at his flat searching for her own oblivion, he is given one last chance to question the life he has led thus far, and perhaps to choose a different ending.

Milton Schorr is a writer and actor. With a background in theatre, he continues to create plays, act, write scripts, stories, features, and travel.

His favourite topics are alternative, from permaculture to hitchhiking to mixed martial arts.

“I found the feedback from the readings an invaluable experience and will take them in to consideration for my forthcoming run. I am thrilled to be a SCrIBE winner!” says Schorr.

The Imbewu Trust was established to promote the development of contemporary South African theatre and arts.

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