From a street corner to the theatre stage

Gordon de Bruin from Strandfontein.

Former gangster Gordon de Bruin from Strandfontein is ready to take the spotlight in the drama Don’t miss your turning point at the Bellville civic centre on Friday July 10.

Gordon was in prison for 10 years for murder, but has turned his life around for the better and is now a rapper, writer and actor.

He is studying Film and Media through Reconstructed Living Lab (RLabs), which also has a branch in Rocklands through the Youth Cafe.

Gordon stays at Camp Joy in Camp Road, Strandfontein. The restoration and skills development centre is a project of the First Community Resource Centre, which was started in August 2009. The centre is not funded by government or institutions.

“Change is only possible if you really want it,” he says firmly. The course his life has followed could serve as one big exclamation mark at the end of that sentence.

Gordon was only 16 when he was sentenced to his lengthy prison term, after getting involved in drug dealing and gangsterism.

“I grew up in Freedom Park, Ottery, an area filled with poverty. My brother was shot at the age of 11, and that was heartsore for our family. Two years later, I joined a gang, hit the streets and started doing drugs.

“I was then arrested and served time in prison. When I was released, I was in and out of rehab. When I came to Camp Joy, my life changed. I was given opportunities and now, after three years, I have become a different person, I changed,” he said.

Gordon plays one of the main characters in Don’t miss your turning point, a brother who faces a range of challenges.

“I can relate to the play and the character,” he says. “The play is based in Hanover Park and highlights the reality of living on the Cape Flats. As we know, our young people are exposed to abuse, gangsterism and drugs. Some are weak and give in to peer pressure and decide to live a life of crime. Life is too short, so it is important for us to follow our dreams and make it a reality, despite the challenges.”

The play has a cast of 30 with people from all over Cape Town, including Mitchell’s Plain. It is written by Pastor Craven Engel, directed by Tammy Johnson and co- directed by Devon Swarts.

Gordon says it’s entertaining and will have the audience laughing and crying with its message of hope and encouragement.

“We are all blessed with talents and gifts, and God wants us to use them. Yes, we all make mistakes, but we are given a second chance, and with that shot, you should not miss that turning point. This play highlights these facts and therefore I think it is important for people to watch it, especially our youth.”

The show starts at 6pm on Friday July 10 and tickets cost R50. For more information call 0634557740.