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Saturday, November 30, 2013

Ubuntu inspires friend in deed

iol news pic ss Shannon Webb ubuntu (38376450)
Twelve-year-old Shannon Webb, left, is using her talents to help raise sponsorship for fellow actor/singer Reabetsoe Machepha, 11, so they can both attend the ART Expo in Orlando in the US next June. Picture: Nicholas Thabo Tau
Johannesburg - The two young actors met at a casting agency. Although they lived on opposite sides of the city, they became best friends.
When both Shannon Webb, 12, and her 11-year-old friend, Reabetsoe Machepha, caught the eye of a famous talent scout, only one of them could afford to go to Orlando, Florida in the US to perform at the ART Expo.
But Webb, from Fourways, would not accept that. She devised a plan “in the spirit of ubuntu” to raise the money so that her friend could accompany her. To date she has raised half the money needed.
Recently, the two young entertainers were among 450 contestants who performed at the International Talent Showcase held at Montecasino. Both made a memorable impression on US actress and international scout Kim Myers and music producer Tashia Stafford, who is the chief executive officer of Atlanta’s Icon Studios, which has produced music for Justin Bieber, Akon, Destiny’s Child and the late Whitney Houston.
Webb and Machepha met at the Caitlin’s Casting Character Agency and have been friends for four months.
When Webb, a Grade 7 pupil at Beaulieu Preparatory School, learned that Machepha would not attend next year’s expo because of financial constraints, she came up with a plan to raise the funds for him.
She has single-handedly raised half through donations, performances and golf days. Machepha only learnt of the fund-raising efforts at a surprise announcement recently.
“Reabetsoe, I know that you really want to go overseas so I have raised funds for you,” Webb pronounced to her friend when the Saturday Star interviewed the pair. She hopes a further R35 000 can be raised before June next year.
She said she was blessed to have the money to travel abroad and wanted Machepha to share the experience.
An ecstatic and speechless Machepha thanked Webb for her efforts.
Machepha, a gifted artist, has appeared on M-Net’s Mzansi Magic as a supporting actor in the award-winning South African movie Phindile’s Heart.
Addi Lang, owner of the casting agency, said she was extremely proud of the humility shown by the youngsters towards each other.
“Here you have a child who has made a sacrifice so that her peer can be happy.This is what we strive to teach them as their mentors, coaches and parents. We want them to grow up in a fulfilled society that knows no racial boundaries and that is willing to help one another,” she said.
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