Stage preview: Nguvu yaMbengu… eNtabelanga –commemorating the Centenary of the Bulhoek Massacre – on stage in Cape Town for five performances
|What: Nguvu ya Mbegu…eNtabelanga [Swahili – “the power of the seed”] |
Presented by: The South African State Theatre in association with Mud&Fire Parables
When: October 21 to 23, 2021 Times: 7.30pm October 21-23 and 2pm on October 20 and 23, 2021
Where: Theatre Arts, Cape Town Director: Mandla Mbothwe
Tickets: R100 – online at theatrearts.co.za/show/Nguvu
Information: E-mail email@example.com or call 072 412 7513
The much anticipated Nguvu ya Mbegu…eNtabelanga, will be staged for five performances, at Theatre Arts in Observatory, Cape Town. The piece was originally devised by students at the Centre for Theatre, Dance and Performance Studies at the University of Cape Town (UCT), under the direction of Mandla Mbothwe. This production is being presented in association with The South African State Theatre, in association with Mud&Fire Parables. Nguvu ya Mbegu…eNtabelanga grapples with the Bulhoek Massacre of 1921, when 193 worshippers were shot dead. They “refused to leave their mountain of prayer, eNtabelanga near Komani (now Queenstown) in Eastern Cape.” Scroll down, after the creative team credits, to find out more. Info supplied.
|Cast: Thando Doni, Indalo Stofile, Lungile Lallie, Luhle Macanda, Mamello Makhetha, Katlego Lebogang, Luthabo Maduna |
Choreographer: Mzo Gasa
Musical Director: Zimbini Makwetu
Performance coach: Thando Doni
Composer: Elvis Sibeko
Multimedia: Sanjin Muftic
Technical and lighting: Bamanye Yeko
Set and Costumes: Linda Mandela Sejosingoe
Production manager: Qondiswa James
The South African State Theatre in association with Mud&Fire Parables will be presenting Nguvu ya Mbegu…eNtabelanga, from October 21 to 23 2021, at Theatre Arts in Cape Town, to commemorate 100 years of the harrowing Bulhoek Massacre of 1921, where 193 worshippers were shot dead for refusing to leave their mountain of prayer, eNtabelanga near Komani (now Queenstown) in Eastern Cape. This showcase is set to be a resistance against persistent narratives that continue to erase black history. The multilingual theatre production (performed in isiXhosa, isiZulu, Sesotho, SeTswana, and Swahili) strongly draws its aesthetic from African storytelling traditions, incorporating dance, song, and ensemble work. Some performances will be accompanied by post-production conversations, exhibition, and virtual talks.
Originally devised by students at the Centre for Theatre, Dance and Performance Studies under the direction of Mandla Mbothwe at the University of Cape Town (UCT), Nguvu ya Mbegu…eNtabelanga follows the story of prophet Enoch Mgijima, his followers the Israelites, and the land on which the Bulhoek massacre of 1921 would happen. The play is an excavation of the tragic slaughter on 24 May 1921, where the Union of South Africa’s police and army shot and killed worshippers, leaving many wounded and others arrested including Mgijima.
Nguvu ya Mbegu is a Swahili title meaning the power of the seed. “The voices of Abantwana Bomgquba (the Children of the Earth) whisper into the ears of the present and future child, a reminder that they have never been alone. A reminder that it takes the weeds to grow the strength of a seed, regardless of the pain, and historical, racial and colonial injustices,” says director Mandla Mbothwe. He is a multi-award-winning South African theatre-maker, published playwright, festival curator, director and art teacher who has been in the industry for over twenty years. He is co-artistic director of the Magnet Theatre Company and has served as Artistic Director of the Steve Biko Foundation, and creative manager of Artscape Theatre Centre. Currently he is a senior lecturer at UCT’s Centre for Theatre, Dance and Performance Studies.
The production boasts a stellar team with names such as Standard Bank Young Artist for Theatre 2021 Thando Doni, internationally acclaimed choreographer Mzo Gasa, and award-winning musical director Zimbini Makwetu, to name a few.
The all-star cast includes, Thando Doni, Indalo Stofile, Lungile Lallie, Luhle Macanda, Mamello Makhetha, Katlego Lebogang, Luthabo Maduna. Director – Mandla Mbothwe, Choreographer – Mzo Gasa, Musical Director – Zimbini Makwetu, Performance Coach – Thando Doni, Composer – Elvis Sibeko, Multimedia – Sanjin Muftic, Technical and Lighting – Bamanye Yeko, Set and Costume – Linda Mandela Sejosingoe and production manager – Qondiswa James.
This run of the production is supported by the South African State Theatre, Institute of Creative Arts, UCT Centre for Theatre Dance and Performance Studies, Distell, and Magnet Theatre.
Nguvu ya Mbegu…eNtabelanga opens on October 21, 2021 at Theatre Arts in Observatory and runs daily at 7.30pm until October 23, 2021. There will be additional matinee performances at 2pm on October 20 and 23, 2021.
|Director’s note on creating Nguvu ya Mbegu…eNtabelanga |
“History works through people and we have availed ourselves for histories to work through us”. Steve Biko
Nguvu yaMbegu…eNtabelanga is a Swahili title meaning the power of the seed. It reclaims the resistance and the resilience of memory. The performance seeks to resist and revolt against the dominant narratives that preserve the continued erasure of black identities. It is an attempt to water the long-buried seed by walking through the past.
The Bulhoek Massacre took place 100 years ago, eNtabelanga near Komani (Queenstown) in 1921 where 193 people were shot dead because they refused to leave their mountain of prayer. The exact numbers are still widely contested. This remains one of most notorious colonial crimes in South African Eastern Cape history.
At the heart of the tragedy is land and religion. This is a familiar story in this country of the age-old dispute between African people and the white colonialists. History tells us that Enoch Mgijima, prophet and religious leader, along with his followers occupied a piece of land on which they might remember and practice independent and self-sustaining life, free from colonial laws. This land had in the first place been invaded by the British following the defeat of the amaXhosa during the wars of dispossession between 1779 and 1878. Key events in this timeline are the Nongqawuse cattle killing of 1856 and1857; the formation of the Union in 1910; and the land act of 1913. It is said that Enoch Mgijima had earlier had a vision of the first world war that ultimately resulted in the sinking of SS Mendi in 1917 – another landmark moment.
I have always been deeply passionate about South African history, especially the history I was not taught at school, the history that has been buried deep, unable to breathe. The dominant practices of history and the mainstream performing arts continue to bury black bodies. I am always surprised at the level of narrative erasure concerning black South Africans, and how our memory is curated to suit the political advancement of a particular party. They govern our hearing, our seeing, our tastes, our language, our vision, our architecture, our works of art and monuments. It is incredible to think how much memory-loss we have endured. I am surprised how far away from ourselves we have walked; perhaps this is one of the reasons that we continue giving birth to furious futures.
In the performance we seek to remember the narrative of the Bulhoek Massacre. We seek to reclaim the ways in which we tell it. We want to claim that we are a seed; when you bury us we grow and multiply. We want to encourage confidence in all those whose lives and existence in the world are silenced, dominated, exploited and erased. We want to help them to rise above the surface and reclaim their memory for self-healing. By doing this we breathe life into ourselves and our stories.
The methods we used to engage with the material needed to reflect both our self-love and the mutated multiplicity of our being located us in a particular continent, country, and city. The production reconnected us with the past, to unpack our memories and to map our futures with great self-pride. It is a reopening of the history books, breathing life into dusty papers, an attempt to connect missing pages, imagine faded words and embrace the magical fragments of lost narratives.
Mandla Mbothwe- Nguvu ya Mbegu…eNtabelanga
|About the South African State Theatre |
The South African State Theatre is the prestigious theatre of choice for a distinctly Pan-African experience. The Theatre of Africa. The biggest in Africa and number seven in the world, SAST boasts six world class auditoriums equipped to host events and productions of any size. It is a destination of choice for inspiration, education and socio-economic transformation underpinned by unique, engaging, and diverse artistic offerings that encourage audience growth and an appreciation for the performing arts.
About Mud&Fire Parables
Mud&Fire Parables is a creative arts service provider specialising in curating and conceptualising interdisciplinary cultural programs, arts development, and job creation. The company’s mission is to contribute to cultural production that is for the community by the community in an effort to reclaim the collective stolen memory. Mud&Fire Parables was founded by Mandla Mbothwe, who also serves as the company’s artistic director.
❇ Sponsored feature. Images supplied.