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Locked down but not Shut down: the creativity continues…

"What’s the big fuss about? So, when the president announced the 21 days lockdown,  South Africa went totally bos about being locked up for 21 days. Especially the smokers and drinkers.But I was soooo prepared for this.  Pollsmoor made me ready. There, #LOCKDOWN means you can’t leave your cell, unless a warder goes with you and then only to get medical attention, go to the snoepie, go to work or go to ‘groepies’." (Megan-parolee) Megan was one of the lucky ones. Recently released from Pollsmoor, she was still in full "lockdown" mode, being accustomed to the restrictions of freedom that underpins incarceration. One could almost feel her pleasure at being "one up" on millions of other South Africans. For once the outcome of her crime was an actual legal benefit.  On the other hand, the suddenness of lockdown and having my hard won freedom taken from me, came as a shock. Only then did I fully understand how much value I had placed on seemingly mundane activities, since my own release. Going to the corner shop or just visiting a neighbor, without constant supervision, was a monumental achievement. How dare Uncle Cyril, nogals  with a polite "My fellow South Africans…" just take that away from me? And then cigarettes were banned. Please note that I chose to be incarcerated at a Correctional facility that was 112km from my home and family because it was a smoking facility. And here I was, jeopardizing my rehabilitation, ducking and diving, just to buy cigarettes called Yun Yan and Sasha. But Second Chance helped me to successfully overcome and even triumph during the hardest lockdown periods. With the initial "no physical contact" period, the project provided all members with sufficient data to communicate via Whatsapp, Zoom and Teams meetings. Being able to check in with each other, sympathize, commiserate and just be there for each other, was a definite boon for our mental health. Despite the implications and impact of social distancing on the manner in which our members worked was a challenge, we soon scripted and developed a Whatsapp soap opera (watch this space). Our creativity developed in leaps and bounds, as alternative methods of performing were navigated. So despite the many challenges that were faced, the members were still able to create and produce. In a nutshell, overcoming and indeed triumphing despite the challenges is the very essence of the Second Chance TheatreProject. Because these experiences and the personal growth achieved by each and every member, allows us to teach, motivate and uplift our youth with conviction and assurance. 

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