FRANCISTOWN: Francistown theatre group, Ghetto Artists, travel to Britain this weekend for a two-week HIV and AIDS conference at the invitation of the John Major Foundation.
Ghetto Artists outreach programme manager, Katlego Mononyane, said that the conference will be held at the International Conference Centre."The conference takes place from January 26 to February 4," she said. She indicated that the John Major Foundation identified them last year.
"We performed in Johannesburg late last year and a few weeks later we received this invitation because they had seen us in Johannesburg," she explained. Mononyane asserted that they are taking two productions to London, The Diamond and VCT.
Ghetto Artists administration officer Saone Bikitshane emphasised that the John Major Foundation has offered to provide them with return air tickets to London and transportation within London.
"So we had to source funds for our accommodation and as always the National Aids Coordinating Agency (NACA) and the District Multi-Sectoral Aids Committee (DMSAC) have offered to pay for our accommodation for the rest of our stay in London," she said.
Bikitshane said that the conference will cover a wide range of topics on HIV and AIDS.
The proposed agenda suggests it will cover youth empowerment, HIV and AIDS prevention and treatment, child development, employment, priority public health issues, and child abuse, among other issues."
Last year Ghetto Artists hosted the World AIDS Day. "From December 1-5 we hosted theatre camps, talking about HIV and AIDS and performing in different catchment areas with other stakeholders," said Mononyane.
She further stated that this year they will be working with PSI to spread the message about HIV and AIDS.
"We will talk about multi-concurrent partners, alcohol and drug abuse, consistent and correct condom use, and we will still be working with ACHAP," she said.
While in the United Kingdom (UK), the artists said they will solicit sponsorship.
"We need children's theatre where we can train them on life skills and theatre skills. We also need a rehabilitation centre as we have many street children in the city," she said.
The foundation has been set up by former British prime minister John Major.