When Nothando Lekgoro came to UNIS Hanoi from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) four years ago, she had no idea what to expect. UAE and Vietnam were, she observed, culturally different. However, it wasn’t long before the “new kid” was embraced by fellow students and teachers and she became engulfed in school life, particularly music and theatre.
“I’ve been involved in theatre productions ever since I came,” shares Nothando. “Whether it’s been thought-provoking plays such as ‘In the Arms of Angels’ or fun musicals such as Shrek, I’ve gotten involved.”
In fact, Nothando loves The Arts so much, she opted to study theatre as one of her IB Diploma courses and has recognised the advantages of using theatre to educate audiences about global issues. For example, she wrote a Director’s notebook for the play Yael Farber's MIES JULIE which highlighted political issues and gender issues in her home country of South Africa.
Commenting on this experience, Nothando said, “I’ve discovered that theatre is a fun way to express yourself and express different global issues. You have so many options in the way you choose to speak about topics. You can even get the audience involved at times too!”
It’s not just theatre that consumes Nothando’s time however. She’s also keen on economics, and is part of the Bloom Microfinance Service Learning initiative, which distributes small grants to women in rural areas of Vietnam. Being exposed to real-world scenarios and activism at UNIS Hanoi, she says, makes the school ‘unique’. She remarked, “As a UN school we connect a lot with UN SDGs and are taught to critique what’s happening in the world in order to find sustainable solutions.”
Looking to the future, Nothando hopes to combine her theatre skills with business or marketing. Whatever path she chooses to follow, facilitating change for the betterment of society will be central to it.