Bullies are a headache for pupils, teachers and parents.
It’s no secret that bullying is a problem, even at the top schools in the country. Most pupils and teachers feel powerless to combat it.
A new production which will be performed at schools in Gauteng – and hopefully nationally – aims to give bullies a proverbial bloody nose.
Beauty of the World aims to teach pupils the importance of acceptance and to fight bullying. The play was produced by Khopotso Seopela, 38, a social entrepreneur who is on a journey, working to promote nation building through writing and creating authentic content of origin.
The play was written by Stephanie Micheal, 20, previously a drama student at the University of Pretoria.
Micheal also featured in the cast of Hear Me Out, which addressed the absence of fathers in the lives of male children, which was produced, written and directed by Seopela in collaboration with the University of Pretoria.
“We must be able to teach children to accept and love one another from an early age, irrespective of race, ethnicity, cultural background or any other factor. We should teach our children to stand in peace against all odds and mostly to recognise their uniqueness and embrace any differences,” says Seopela.
“There is so much more that unites us than that which divides us … and our children should be taught that,” she added.
“As a social entrepreneur, working hard to promote nation building, I felt this play could make a difference and not only will it make a difference, but will also serve as a catalyst and a voice to the pupils living in constant discrimination simply because they are different,” says Seopela.
Micheal says the content has a personal significance for her. “I was very bullied because of my Nigerian origins – I was different, and couldn’t speak the indigenous languages.
“Bullying has played a big role to shape who I am today and I regard it as my duty to help others who are bullied, or even to let bullies see what the consequences of their actions could be.”
The play has five characters from five different backgrounds and tells of how each has to deal with bullying.
“One of them is gay, the other is an overweight Afrikaner girl, an Afrikaner boy, a Nigerian and a boy experiencing gender discrimination at home and at school. They all come together amidst the tension they are experiencing and then realise what impact bullying has on their lives,” says Micheal.
Seopela says this production is much more than just a play. “Through this vehicle, Beauty of the World, we intend to touch people’s hearts. We want to equip pupils with the skills and principles to become good citizens.
“The production is also designed to educate the teachers and the parents on how to be positive influencers in the midst of these diversities.”