Ankobia – Essential Theatre

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.

             Ankobia: A Leap Into The Future, A Step Into The Past – Makgotso Nkosi

Time can be a misleading thing it seems. Although Ankobia is set in the futuristic land of Pelodikgadile in the year 2041, the relevancy of this story is immense. The dually written production has intense underlying realities of what South Africa and perhaps other post-colonised countries are currently experiencing.

The creators point out the violence, crime and brutality by the colonial system in a surreal manner, but it is in these unreal realities that the present is explained. The play looks at the combination of Christianity and alcohol as a tool that keeps the dominated of our kind distracted from claiming the land of our ancestors. Although the play subtly dabbles in Dadaism, the idea of brainwash explored as sanctioned amnesia, it none the less has a way of challenging constructed ideas on the role of religion in post colonised spaces.

The story narrates the life of Xhoi, who finds himself serving under a hired religious figure read Jesus. He amongst many others of Pelodikgadile fall victim to the erasure of memory by the government.

The politics in the story are very evident, one song keeps returning to accentuate the center theme of the play, “Land” and this is done beautifully by a multi-talented percussionist whose instruments sound like a yearn, as they hum Sikhalela Izwelethu very soflty.

Ankobia is testimony to the existence of artistic anarchy in the South African art landscape.

                                                        Pelokgadile – Xolani Tembu
The year is 2041; the state of Pelokgadile is in tumultuous turmoil, a result of the events that began in 2039. Missionaries with purported powers of Jesus Christ’s proportions have taken over the land of Pelokgadile and its people. Having erased the Pelokgadilans’ natal identities consequently renaming them Christian style, they proceeded to pump in them religious fear, a true mirror of 18th century Southern Africa. Pelokgadilans are under constant monitoring and guard, particularly the all-important rebel leader Xhoi (Alfred Mothlapi), perceived to be the snake’s head by the missionary crusaders. Led by a questionable Ray-Ban shades donning character in papal regalia, the missionary crusaders hunt down all Pelokgadilans with the sole purpose of converting them. A successful conversion of a Pelokgadilan in this regard spells their displacement and land dispossession while enticed by the promise of material and bodily pleasures. Xhoi is captured and equally brainwashed; then immersed in the material pleasures experienced in a state of illusion. Consequently, Xhoi finds himself having forgotten his greatness. He finds himself having forgotten his calling and mission to liberate his people from missionary shackles. Spending his days in a daze of blissful coition, he is suddenly troubled by echoes of his former self as they begin to haunt him, thanks to two uncaptured Pelokgadilans in Kamma (Momo Matsunyane) and Ditukile (Billy Langa), and a battle ensues.

A cross between events of the 10th century crusaders’ holy wars and the 18th century cerebral violation of Africans by missionaries, Ankobia explores the effects of colonialism on Africans through the lens of missionary indoctrination. It explores socio-cultural and economic sacrifices and blunders made by African forefathers and by extension, the African National Congress, to the detriment of their descendants through the use of present day political metaphors. Kamma can be heard calling Dominic (Katlego Letsholonyana) a ‘House Nigger’ as she and Ditukile journey towards unshackling their captured brothers. With ‘the return of land to its rightful owners’ at the centre of this showcase, it is undebatable that Motshabi and Molusi feel black South Africans have woken up. They confirm that in fact, black South Africans, the very descendants of their unfortunate forefathers, have pieced together historical accounts of what happened to their forefathers, their wealth and the land of their birth.

With a definite potential to ruffle feathers in all corners of this country, particularly the highest echelons of our pillaging government, it is left to imagination what the look and feel of boardroom conversations are like in sponsorville. The show’s costume selection ranges from a mimic of collections out of the Star Wars Franchise to those from the acclaimed television serial, Game of Thrones. The vigour with which the show is delivered has left black reviewers salivating with plenty to barf.

*Running until the 13th August 2017 at The Market Theatre at a special ticket price of R90.00 between Tuesday and Thursday, R150.00 between Friday and Sunday; and an added student discount of R70.00, Ankobia is worthy of your diary, though do leave close-mindedness at home.


An Open Letter to Prof Ngidi: The Decolonisation Rhetoric at CUT


Dear Prof Ngidi

“The unpreparedness of the educated classes, the lack of practical links between them and the mass of the people, their laziness, and, let it be said, their cowardice at the decisive moment of the struggle will give rise to tragic mishaps.”

Frantz Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth

Just as when I was about to congratulate you on being nominated for the NSTF awards, I realised, when I read further, that you were not the one nominated. Seeing you in the picture, however, brought to mind an unpleasant memory of last year; during the Fees protests. It is unpleasant because of the amount of disrespect you demonstrated, especially as Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Teaching and Learning.

I am writing this in between classes; so be assured it’s going to be a short one. Nevertheless, I here wish to state my position on decolonisation and my disappointment in you.

On October 17th, 2016 at the student parliament, when asked to comment on and give possible directives insofar as decolonisation and the decolonial curriculum are concerned, you ascended to the podium and gave a very obscure and irrelevant history to what was going to become an inevitably fruitless lecture on the subject. This was an insult, especially as you stood there, with expensive phone in your hand and googling on what next to say. Hence what was to follow was unavoidably going to be fruitless. As DVC for Teaching and Learning, with a strong academic record on understanding the pedagogical aspects of Psychology, having been Dean of the Faculty of Humanities and, not to mention, taught History and IsiZulu; it would have been appreciated if you took the onus and displayed a more abreast understanding of the subject of decolonisation. We were, of course, not anticipating a Paulo Freire; but you could have put more effort and provided leadership.

Furthermore, I do not think there is going to be enough time for me for me to expand on my position apropos to decolonisation and colonisation. As I explained, I am writing this in between classes. As a twenty-year-old, months before the events of Fees Must Fall of the previous year, I wrote extensively on colonisation and decolonisation, and a few of my articles are available on my blog: In these articles, I do not provide an Alpha and Omega understanding of the subject, but dwell more on the fundamental tenants of colonisation. These include the fact that colonisation, as a process, is first and foremost destructive in and of itself; and therefore harbours no positive aspects. For instance, one can put it out and point at these buildings we call universities and suggest them as amongst the said ‘positive aspects’, but it will be them being ahistorical. I plan to summarise my argument in two points: 1) there already were academic institutions in Africa before the coloniser set foot here, and 2) the coloniser’s institutions, founded on a Eurocentric understanding of being and being-in-the-world, do more to erase indigenous epistemic understanding of such. As Aime Cesaire also understands: “…between colonisation and civilisation there is an infinite distance; that out of all colonial expeditions that have been undertaken, out of all colonial statutes that have been drawn up, out of all memoranda that have been dispatched by all the ministries; there could come no single human value.”

How then does a decolonised curriculum look like? I am tempted to briefly answer, thus: Giving education human values, the same Cesaire laments about colonialism to have none of. The world, the modernised world, which is deeply rooted in Eurocentric understanding of being, as earlier stated, has redefined humanity and what it means to be human, for the African. The latter therefore threads on, emptied of knowledge of self and baffled by new connotations found in the modern world – the world as we know it.

Bab’ uPhathabantu, to further add to my disappointment, the Vice-Chancellor went and gloated in The Weekly newspaper about how CUT is leading the discourse on decolonisation, even when it is known that this is false. The past two workshops I have seen advertised on campus were invitations to ivory tower, mouth-to-mouth resuscitations of a few academics. This exposes the refusal of the institution to keep doors open for engagement. As Black Space, we will be having a series of public lectures on Black Consciousness, putting into context Vladimir Lenin’s question of “What is to be done?” When there is such an event organised, if not the first, you will be one of the few academics to know about it.



Member of the Black Space, a Black Consciousness formation of students on campuses across occupied Azania (SA).