The South African State Theatre is excited to confirm theatre productions, TAU, MANTSHO, and ISAMBULO joins line up for the 11th Annual Mzansi Fela Festival this December.
TAU: 05-09 December
The critically acclaimed award-winning play TAU follows the main character, Tau, who lives in a conflict of modern and traditional domestic rules deeply rooted in African history and mythology. Once confronted with this conflict, he embarks on a journey of discovering his manhood, himself and his Sesotho culture. “What is it that really defines a man?” Tau asks.
Written and co-directed by Thabiso Rammala together with Momo Matsunyane , the story is set in the modern Free State where cultural norms and traditional practices play a huge part in the community. It tackles cultural issues which are rather sensitive and have been the same way for centuries and difficult to question. It further deals with the taboo issue of homosexuality in the midst of a sacred “manly” ceremony
In 2017 TAU scooped three Naledi Awards for Best Choreography, Best Ensemble, and Best Lighting Design and won Standard Bank Fringe Golden Award at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown (Makhanda).
MANTSHO: 12-16 December
MANTSHO is an enticing Sesotho cultural play based on the king of Bakoena Clan who took an unwise decision to disobey certain traditional Basotho rituals after his first wife died. He falls in the hands of the serpent’s pawn, Mantsho, whom he marries while in the process of mourning his late wife. Mantsho and her wizardry doings manage to manipulate the king’s power which later compromises the land and leaves it in turmoil.
Writer and director, Thembisile Xolisile Nogwanya says the indigenous play aims to entertain audiences while educating them on issues of greed, ignorance, land expropriation, culture, and tradition.
ISAMBULO: 07,08 & 09 December
ISAMBULO musical play displays the African culture of worship within a typical Sunday church service. The musical theatre is a clear dramatisation of what you would find in different South African churches. It embraces diverse ways in which different churches worship God. A fusion of the old traditional hymns with new compositions illuminates to create a new song that all can worship in. Written and directed by the award-winning musical director, Zakhele Mabena.
CADO: 1-15 December
Another initiative for artistic development, the State Theatre champions a Community Art Dramaturgy Outreach (CADO) programme which aims to unearth talent rooted in communities across the country. The programme annually visits communities to provide workshops and form groups that will later participate in Mzansi Fela Festival.
This year the programme has sourced and workshopped over fourteen groups from as far as Kimberly, Emalahleni, and Emfuleni. These groups are tasked to adapt South African scripts including classical text such as HALLELUJAH and ‘We Shall Sing for our Father Land’, both by Zakes Mda, and Sophiatown by Junction Avenue Theatre Company, to battle it out during the festival. Performance times and dates are available on Computicket.
Mzansi Fela Festival has become one of the premier arts festivals in the calendar of South Africa. For the past 10 years, this festival has provided a platform for local and national artists. The artistic offering of this festive event has seen many distinguished artists grace stages and many young talents being discovered.