Proudly presented by The Playhouse Company as a touring production on its mobile stage, Ulwembu is an interdisciplinary theatrical experience that shares the stories of young whoonga users, and explores the role of the police and government in the lives of vulnerable youth.
The ultimate aim of the production is to improve the relationship between police, health care services and social workers, citizens and drug-using youth. The realisation that audiences come to is that the problem of drug use needs to be approached from both a mental health and a policing point of view, requiring sensitivity and compassion. In Ulwembu, a police woman who works in drug enforcement finds out that her son has slipped into whoonga addiction. This deeply personal experience affords audiences the opportunity to view drug users in a new light: with empathy, love and understanding. Audiences also get to witness the effects of whoonga use: the pain and anguish of falling deeper and deeper into addiction. Ulwembu is not an attempt to influence using scare tactics. Instead, it provides a window into the real-life stories of users and those who care for and police them. It vividly engages the imagination and one’s compassion.