Maredi laments that Sowetans lost the habit of going to the theater, reluctant to venture into the streets of an increasingly turbulent and crime-ridden area in the 1970s and 1980s and now distracted by other diversions, including satellite TV and shopping mall cinemas.
Maredi hopes to see an off-Broadway to Broadway system created in Soweto with the opening of the new theater. Artists at the gleaming new theater, he said, can work with small acting troupes across the township to develop shows that will help Sowetans tell their stories, and bring them back to the theater.
Sack said he envisioned plays moving from Soweto's halls to the new theater he oversees.
Actor-activists inspired South Africans to defeat apartheid. Artists say they can still inspire today, in a post-apartheid nation determined to defeat crime, violence against women and government corruption. Maredi's latest play explores the challenges women face in post-apartheid South Africa, with actresses speaking out against horrifying rape statistics.
Maredi said, "We need theater more today than we did during apartheid."
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