Text: Xolani Tembu
Photographs: Iris Parker
It is the 1950s, a docile, recently married young couple from rural Natal, evocative of Gaz’lam’s Khethiwe and Sifiso, has resolved to pack the little they own and leave their agonizingly unbearable families for greener pastures. Timi Ngobese (Siyabonga Thwala) had heard of a place called Umkhumbane that was apparently overrun with mushrooms of rooms to rent. As he and his buoyant young bride Namhla Ngobese (Masasa Mbangeni) journeyed to the big city aboard a South African Railway Services locomotive, they arrive to a flurry of human bodies and mystifying stench that is characteristic of cities. Carrying an antique traveler’s suitcase and roll of sponge mattress remnant of enterprising township-street-pounding Zimbabwean and Mozambican merchants, the Ngobeses rest as they attempt to figure out how they would get to Umkhumbane. While they wait, enters Mlotshwa (Desmond Dube), a former rural Natal cum streetwise Umkhumbane denizen who after a short exchange with the Ngobeses, offers them a room in his yard. What follows is a rollercoaster of a life half lived burdened by the pressures of city life and shattered dreams. A true reminder that life is indeed what happens while we make plans.
Adapted from Es’kia Mphahlele’s 1954 short story, The Suitcase features an all-star cast in Siyabonga Thwala, Masasa Mbangeni, Desmond Dube and John Lata to name a few. Under the incredible direction of veteran actor and director James Ngcobo, the cast moves in mesmerizing fashion as it delivers the narrative. A combination of well-timed transitions and apposite supporting music through the voices of Gugu Shezi, Ndoh Dlamini and Nokukhanya Dlamini backed by well-known left handed guitarist Bheki Khoza, effortlessly transported the agreeable audience back to the 1950s when pinstriped suits, two-toned shoes and a selection of Dobbs and Stetson hats were the order of the day. The Suitcase is an indispensable reminder of the pureness of black love; simple, uncluttered and unadulterated. It is also a reminder of how precarious such love can be when left to its own devices.
While a much welcomed breakage of the fourth wall by the two narrators in Desmond Dube and John Lata takes place every so often, it also took away the momentum of the show, a rather rude reminder of the days when SABC channels would go on ad breaks in the middle of a feature film. Some would liken this feeling to an almost sneeze; truly, nothing could be more frustrating. The show could have certainly done well without the narration. With its talented cast, remarkable direction and well thought out set and lighting, it stands well on its own and carries the story with very little need for elucidation.
Congratulations must however, go out to the team, particularly Ngcobo for his refusal to render this show prosaic and pedestrian since its inception in 2006. Returning to The Market Theatre for a 6 week season, it would truly be unpatriotic to miss it after its critically acclaimed sold out season in the United Kingdom. Tickets are available from The Market Theatre Box Office at R90.00 for Tuesdays- Thursdays, R150.00 for Fridays-Saturdays and R130.00 for Sundays. For this season, the curtain will drop on the 26 November 2017.
Blacks should flock en masse to see Ankobia, a labour of black love written by Monageng “Vice” Motshabi and Omphile Molusi. Motshabi also donned the directorial hat on this production that wrestles violently with the psyche of an assimilated, indoctrinated and ultimately, a dominated people. This is honest theatre that conceals nothing, forcing the audience to deal with their continued complicity in their dispossession. The production equally forces the oppressor to see their sustained privilege play out on stage as they continue to hold onto the levers of power through a puppet government. Tis dem forces of evil (“white-supremacist-capitalist-patriarchy”) that attempts to suppress what seems to be a perpetual state of rebellion for black folks in this play set in 2041. The play will leave you shook, discombobulated and feeling some typa way. – Kulani Nkuna. Continue reading “Ankobia – Essential Theatre”
Black is the colour of mourning and melancholy. Black epitomises stealth; it is
central to clandestine ventures and cool lonesomeness. Black is the colour of
executive cars, gadgets, accessories and clothing. Eternally beautiful, Black is the
colour of the universe, the infinite deep dark unknown abyss. Black is a wormhole,
mysterious and ever-receding, absorbing everything around it and revealing
nothing. Black is all colours mixed together, perhaps the sum of the visible. Black is
the only colour without light, though full and empty.
Continue reading “Ode To Black”
Text: Flo Foundation
Photography: Flo Mokale
Thabo “Flo” Mokale, father and founder of the Flo Foundation has always been a lover of images. Whether it’s through his poetry or performances, he always strives to capture the mind with the magic of his visual and spoken imagery. Continue reading “A Beautiful Struggle”
Writer: Sibusiso Mkwanazi
“Umtsetse”. That is one of those words that seems not to exist in the English language. It is the “fold” that is ironed into a pair of pants. This line separates the men from the boys and the girls from the ladies. Can Themba’s The Suit does this with surgical precision as it clearly differentiates right from wrong, no matter the justification. Continue reading “Review – The Suit”
Writer: Xolani Tembu
Photograph: Musa N Nxumalo
Listening to Sabelo Soko’s second offering, Umkhondo, one can almost hear echoes of Sipho Mabuse’s Thaba Bosiu, those of the iconic Madala Kunene’s Ubombo and even Hugh Masekela’s Stimela. Needless to say, this album sets Soko hills apart from his compeers, certainly earning him the esteemed title ‘Bra’ Sabza. Continue reading “Sabelo Soko – Umkhondo”
Photography: Ayabonga Cawe
Text: Ciko Story Concepts
We live in compelling times. South Africa’s trajectory is shifting and its custodians are growing in consciousness – and in action. The times call for deep, meaningful and honest reflection and conversation. This is needed in order for us to enjoy a fruitful translation of those convictions in the immediate spaces we occupy. ‘UmziWatsha- The politics of (im) patience’ puts this under the spotlight. Continue reading “Umzi Watsha – The Politics of (im)patience”
Writer: Ziyana Lategan
Photographs: Oscar O’ryan
The Baxter Theatre’s 2017 staging of Peter Weiss’ The Persecution and Assassination of Jean-Paul Marat as Performed by the Inmates of the Asylum of Charenton Under the Direction of Marquis de Sade or Marat/Sade is without doubt, superbly performed. The stage, made to look like the inside of an asylum, made to look like a stage, was perfectly Brechtian in its effect. The audience, functioning as the actual audience in the asylum, was constantly made complicit in the spectacle of the performance Continue reading “Marat/Sade: A View From The Colony”
Writer: Ms Doo-Wop
Photograph: Musa N. Nxumalo
I had a conversation with a friend of mine the other night. Both of us are new in America, five months into our ‘international degrees’ and already feeling the emptiness of the promise of awayness.
We have both left lovers back home.
It is not that he does not have the opportunity to cheat or that he doesn’t want to. What he is afraid of is the freedom that comes with being anonymous. Continue reading “Celibacy Blues”
Writer: Blackhouse Kollective
Photography: Blackhouse Kollective
the blackhouse kollective educational exhibition at bree taxi-rank,during december 2016, publicly defied the rainbow reconciliation farce. displaying work titled sankofa – lest we forget, our exposition was greeted by police bullying. shabbily donned street-vendors poised helplessly at the receiving end of that police violence.
Continue reading “Ke e rekilemachina-eng”
Writer: Mogobe Ramose
Photograph: Makgotso Nkosi
In his De Legibus, book III, part III, sub. VIII Cicero wrote that “saluspopulisupremalexesto”. The various translations of this maxim do not deviate from the basic insight that the health of the people shall be the supreme law. It is significant that Cicero makes this jussive declaration under the important title, “On laws”. Whatever laws there may be in a given human community, they ought to recognise, respect, protect and promote the foundation upon which they are built, namely, the health or well-being of all the individuals constituting the community. Continue reading “Feta Kgomo O Tshware Motho”
Writer: Yannisha Yalla
Photograph: Fizz Designs (Twitter)
So many questions need to be asked about identities and cultures in post-colonial countries. Post-colonial countries are flooded with people who have been uprooted and then forced to adapt to a mainstream culture. This mainstream culture is usually white. The dispossessed are then taught to be grateful that their minds have been colonized.
Continue reading “Cultural Confusion in Post-Colonial Countries”