In 1996, Open the Gates was Project Phakama’s first project.
Inspiration for this project came from surviving the day-to-day realities of life as a teenager in Benoni, and from their aspirations for the new South Africa. Adrienne Sichel, lead drama critic for South Africa’s Daily Star, attended the final performance:
The evening, which began at sunset, ended in a fire display which illuminated a huge Xhosa wedding dance to include all the audience. Amazingly, this visually breathtaking theatrical experience in which 65 teenagers switched and swapped ages, genders and cultures explored characters affected by physical and emotional violence, abuse, racial brutalities, insecurities and aspirations.