Innocence Lost: A tale of human trafficking and GBV


 “I always think about those that never got away…”

Theatre is indeed an act that paints pictures of reality into one’s mind. Beautiful and relaxing – watching raw talent telling a story but sadly behind the story there is a history of sadness.

SA Positive News journalist Yolanda Sibeko had an opportunity to sit in at the National children’s theatre and watch a play.

The minute you walk into the theatre the atmosphere is chilled – by looking at the paintings and the art that is portrayed on the walls it says it all –  this is indeed a place where children get to express their feelings. It’s where they come alive and breathe again and apart from it all it’s a place that brings peace and joy into their lives.

The National Children’s Theatre has been around for over 30 years and they believe that theatre can make a difference in children’s lives.

The play is dedicated to human trafficking and gender-based violence. Two of the major pandemics in the world that are destroying our generation.

Innocence Lost is the name of the play – catchy title – I bet already people are painting pictures in their minds and concluding what the play is about.

Human Trafficking is not just abduction or kidnapping of people.  It is the use of force, coercion, abduction, fraud, deception, abuse of power or vulnerability, or giving payments or benefits to a person in control of the victim.   It is done through recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons. It is all done for the purpose of exploitation in order to make financial gain.

In the play little Lesedi is an orphan looked after by her grandmother who is a drunkard, who instead of taking care of Lesedi abuses her financially. She uses her social grant money to get drunk.

All the way from Limpopo little Lesedi is abducted and taken to the streets of Yeoville where she is locked up and turned into a slave – made to entertain Bra Danger at night.

In attendance is Hilary Leong, Co-Founder/ Chairperson of Awareness for Child Trafficking Africa ( ACT Africa). Leong started the foundation because she is an abduction survivor . She was abducted but managed to run away. “I always think about those that never got away”, says Hilary.

She was also touched by the murder of Karabo Mokoena who was close to her daughter, something that devastated her.

“As human trafficking is increasing I think I could have been dead today or raped but what about those that never made it?”, she asks. 

Human trafficking goes way back, even referenced in the Bible, as Hilary gives an example of Jesus being a victim of human trafficking when He was sold in exchange for money by Judas who later committed suicide. But in the world we live in it doesn’t end that way. 

Leong is the first and only South African woman to be nominated globally and has made it to the finals for Global Women Inspirational Awards taking place on June 10, 2022. 

Cruel world it is but it is always great to see and meet people who strive to change people’s lives for the better. Right now the aim is to make our children aware of the kind of world they are exposed to.

A round of applause to Moira Katz for a beautiful story and to Ntambo Rapatla for the alarming play.

By: Yolanda Gabisile Sibeko ‘the dead writer’

SA Positive News