Writer tackles issues

2017-08-29 06:00
Denver Breda from Lavender Hill is a finalist in the Adam and Rosalie Small writing competition.

Denver Breda from Lavender Hill is a finalist in the Adam and Rosalie Small writing competition.

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A scriptwriter and theatre maker from Lavender Hill is one of the four finalists of the Adam and Rosalie Small Award for Debutant Writers.

Denver Breda (35) says he is excited about being a finalist but to him it’s not about validation but being able to tell the stories of his community.

The competition was launched last year in honour of the late Adam Small and his wife Rosalie for their contribution to South African literature, philosophy, education and advocacy against social injustice.

Breda says his script, called Rocky, is an eye-opener for readers and touches on issues most people would rather ignore.

“I think it’s controversial and an intense story. It’s about a transgender woman who speaks about self-acceptance, it’s about identity and abuse, it’s about how society looks at things and how people are rejected and end up being miserable. This is something that we should be taking about,” he says.

Breda is currently working on the Khoesan Languages Project called Supu-Supu.

“For us to really know where we are going we must know where we come from first – what happened for us to end up where we are so that we correct it,” he says.

He is also working on a production called The Boesmanmyt which is inspired by the story of his mother who is from Graaff-Reinet. She came to Cape Town at the age of 19. Despite all the challenges at the time she made it through.

Writing for him is therapeutic.

“I really enjoy writing. It makes me think of my own problems, other people’s problems and in that way try find solutions. Through writing we tell stories and work on solutions together. Our voices have been silenced for so long and we must tell more of our own stories,” says Breda.

The winner of the unpublished script competition will be given once-off assistance by local alcohol company Distell to bring his work to the stage.

Breda hopes that he wins first prize.

“Recognition is something else but what really makes me help is to be able to tell our stories, talk about our own issues. I really enjoy what I do and I hope Rocky will make it and we begin to talk openly about issues that affect us,” he says.

All scripts for the competition had to be submitted under a pseudonym and were judged based on quality and storyline.

Out of the twenty entries, four finalists were chosen by a judging panel that consists of directors, poets, writers and academics.

The judging panel includes Diana Ferrus, Hennie van Greunen, Mandla Mbothwe, Dr Mohammed Cassiem Dharsey, Steward van Wyk and Thembi Mtshali Jones.

Mbothwe and Van Greunen are leading a mentoring process with the finalists. The mentors will revise and edit the scripts with the finalists to get the best possible version of each story and it is this version that is sent to the judges.

The winner will be announced on Monday 18 September.


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