Writer's award-winning play 'Kinnes' shines light on gang-riddled communities

Writer and performance artist Chase Rhys has won a script-writing award for the submission of his first ever play, Kinnes.

Rhys is the winner of the inaugural Adam and Rosalie Small Award for Debutant/Debutante Writers.

The award was launched in November last year in partnership with Distell and to honour the late poet and writer, who is one of Rhys' icons.

The 28-year-old says he wrote Kinnes to honour the lives of children who are victims of violence on the Cape Flats.

Kinnes is the story of a child who gets killed in the crossfire of gang violence.

Read: Local film 'Krotoa' sparks debate about cultural heritage, colonial history

Rhys grew up in Ocean View and says he used elements of his personal experiences to create the characters of the play.

He explains that the play is written in both Afrikaans and English and shows the complexities and nuances of Coloured identity and life on the Cape Flats.

I was asking the same questions that Adam Small asked over 50 years ago when he wrote 'Kanna Hy Kô Hystoe'.

Chase Rhys, writer and performance artist

What's happening in our communities? Why is the violence escalating? Why are our children being killed? Why are our children killing?

Chase Rhys, writer and performance artist

I wrote Kinnes to try and understand what is happening in our communities... The story of Kinnes is not a new story.

Chase Rhys, writer and performance artist

Representation is always important.

Chase Rhys, writer and performance artist

Also read: Kelly-Eve Koopman and Sarah Summers on their new 'Coloured Mentality' series

It's important that everyone in the community tell their story. As Coloured on the Cape Flats we have already lost too much.

Chase Rhys, writer and performance artist

Burn all the rules. Just write and get your story down.

Chase Rhys, writer and performance artist

Rhys has received a cash prize of R10 000 and is now casting actors and actresses for his production.

Distell has partnered with Wordsmith Theatre Factory to manage the stage production of Kinnes.

The play will show in March 2018 at the Woordfees literary and art festival in Stellenbosch.

Take a listen to his inspiring story and what the award means to him:


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