Djeli – part of Theatre in the Dark at Theatre Arts in Cape Town (February 15-25, 2024)

Writer: Katlego Chale
Director: Mmatumisang Motsisi
Technical direction: Tiffani Dlamini
Cast: Peggy Tunyiswa, Mthuthuzeli Zimba and Busi Maphumulo
Where: Theatre Arts, Methodist Church Hall, corner Milton Road and Wesley Street, Observatory, Cape Town, 7925
When: February 20-23, 2024
Tickets: R80 and R100 for general admission with concessions for students
Direct booking link:
Age advisory: Over 10s

Info: or call 0812553519  
Tickets and programme: Available online at   
Info: For updates about the shows,follow Theatre Arts on Instagram and Facebook    

A new play, Djeli is making its debut in Cape Town as part of Theatre in the Dark, at Theatre Arts, from February 20-23. The 11 works in the season of Theatre in The Dark (February 15-25, 2024), have been curated around the concept of theatre which does not rely on our unreliable electricity grid in South Africa. The creatives are using lighting sources which will continue to illuminate, even when the grid is off. They are also looking at darkness in a metaphorical sense for example in Djeli, they explore “the absence of light”. Djeli, directed by Mmatumisang Motsisi and Tiffani Dlamini. It is a “story about family, culture, redemption and history.” This “visual production incorporates elements of sound, visual imagery and creates an extended metaphor with its light sources, like paraffin lamps and candles.” Read on for more about this exciting new play. Info as supplied: 

Djeli to Shed Light on the Meaning of Life at Cape Town’s Theatre Arts, Theatre in the Dark season

Lovers of original African storytelling theatre are invited to Theatre Arts upcoming festival, Theatre in the Dark. The programme includes a new play about a set of special twins from 12th century Mali, titled Djeli. The play will be staged for the first time from February 20 to February 23, 2024.

Storyteller- Djeli is a Mandinka word

Djeli is a Mandinka word that means storyteller, and also means blood. Without djelis, African oral traditions would be non-existent, a clear connection to a Bambara proverb that says djelis are the lifeblood of their nations. So, what happens when the djelis in the kingdom of Niani are under threat of execution when an illegitimate empress ascends the throne destined for the former king’s second son? Chaos ensues, and history comes under threat.

Djeli metaphorises the absence of light and forms part of 11 productions at Theatre Arts’ exciting new off-the-grid season of shows, Theatre in the Dark. These works aim to give artists and audiences’ alternative means to enjoy theatre and in turn highlights the crisis that is load-shedding and the effects thereof. 

Complexity of remembering and re-membering a fragmented bloodline

The production is an exploration of the complexity of remembering and re-membering a fragmented bloodline as imagined and written by, Katlego Chale. The histories, culture and memories that they discover on their quest for redemption are from a fragmented lineage that they need to overcome and move forward from. Together they explore the complexities of their past, seeking to set right the terror caused by their forefathers. 

Family, culture, redemption and history

A story about family, culture, redemption and history, Djeli is visual production that incorporates elements of sound, visual imagery and creates an extended metaphor with its light sources, like paraffin lamps and candles. 

Creative team

Written by Katlego Chale, and directed by Mmatumisang Motsisi, with technical direction from Tiffani Dlamini, this play promises something fresh and exciting to Cape Town audiences across the expanse of the city.

Director Mmatumisang Motsisi is delighted to bring this important work to the Theatre Arts stage: “Djeli is a story about those who have secured the histories of the great people of Mali. Moreover, it is a story about lineage and legacy. It is a reminder that we have long been diviners, warriors and storytellers. It is an invitation to journey with us as we reckon with the forces that have sought to erase our stories.” 

Tour into the darkness in Djeli from February 20 to 23, 2024, at Theatre Arts in Observatory. For ticket bookings, please visit Direct booking link:

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