My New Play

This is the man who my current play is, in part, based on. When the Marikana Massacre happened, he has the only face identified as a leader. He died among the men he led. Such a brave man, yet we know so little about him.
This is the man who my current play is, in part, based on. When the Marikana Massacre happened, he was the first face to be identified as a leader. He died among the men he led. Such a brave man, yet we know so little about him.

Who is he?

Where is he from?

Who is the man behind his face?

These are some of the questions that sparked the creation of “The Man In The Green Jacket”

A play which deals with the latest labour unrest that hit South Africa last year.

Apartheid in South Africa

In this play, my attempt was not so much to directly speak to the politics of the labour unrest, but to understand the personal politics of the face behind the man who put his life on the line to fight for what he believed in. What personally motivated this for him? I wanted to reveal the effects of the politic narrative through his life. Such bravery is something that has not been seen in South Africa since the days of apartheid. Now we are fighting a different apartheid, and I call it an economic apartheid. Beyond our colour-line politics, not much has changed in our country for ordinary black South Africans. And the labour unrest hightlighted this plight of the poor, which is why the government gunned them down. Their strike was perhaps the first act of solidarity among the working class since the strike of the 1973 where workers united in spirit and numbers to shake the moral core of our racist regime. This spirit is dead, or was, until the Marikana miners decided to end their silence and speak out against their common plight at the hands of our repressive economic apartheid.

Apartheid in South AfricaSouth Africa is perhaps yet to realize a truly meaningful political and economic transition. The miners demonstrated that just like the apartheid could not suppress the freedom of blacks forever, so is the plight of the average working class. We are heading for a revolution! It is brewing under the belly of this country and we are starting to see fumes and steams of it blow up. The façade of freedom and economic development of South Africans the government has promised is wearing off – it will be ironic that a real full revolution in this country will be against a black government. The very people who fought apartheid are now sitting at the helm of economic apartheid just so that they can enrich themselves. But no man escapes his judgment, our days are numbered.

Watch this space!

The people will rise again.

Their voice’s echo will break the shackles of economic apartheid.

Amandla!

Awethu!

(Power, to the people)

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Tribute to Nelson Mandela

For the love of art! As a tribute to Nelson Mandela, I’ve agreed to be a part of artists who are going to workshop a 20-30 minutes piece of theatre in less than 36 hours. With no time for preparations I’ve to jump in with 2 actors and embark on a wonderful creative journey. These performances will be stage in one of the local township. Do join us on Wednesday to see what our artistic impulses have to offer. Let go and let art. The countdown starts now. Let the games begin…

The team:

I was given a pair of such talented individuals, especially Thando Mzembe. What a remarkable young performer with a critical and dynamic mind. His partner, I misplaced her name, was a formidable young actress in her 2nd year in UCT. They were a really nice pair of performers, and what a privilege it was to work with them.

The process:

With less than 48 hours left, I took a pen and paper and I went around The Green Backpackers where we were staying to interview people about what they thought of Nelson Mandela and what they would say to him if they met him in person. It was interesting to note the different views between South Africans’ attitude to the foreigners or tourists. Everyone from outside our borders loved Nelson Mandela unreservedly and yet very few South Africans share this ‘heroic’ icon he has become, especially black people. And their reasoning is simple; very little of their lives have changed. They still live in squalid deteriorating conditions, so the novelty of a ‘heroic’ Madiba does not seem to have done much for them. However, others, despite noting the same plight and poverty they have been plunged into, especially in Cape Town where the racial tensions of our bitter history still lurks, they continue to hold him as an icon of love, peace and integrity. These views, often opposing, provided the basis for my process.

As a visual person, I reduced these tensions to an image. A black man in his early 20s cramped into a tiny shack which is clustered with piles of newspapers, books, magazines, loose pages, etc. He is a local journalist who is waiting for a phone call from his boss to know whether he is the selected candidate to go around his community to record and write an article about what people think about Mandela and their plans for the Mandela Day. After 10pm at night, Dr. Mara introduced me to the the actors; and this image became the central working premise for our workshop. We placed the story within a contemporary South African socio-political landscape because this is the closest reference we all shared and did not have time to research possible other time frames. So we located the story in Gugulethu and Khayelitsha where the actors lived – I teased them on specific views their communities might have about Mandela. We pulled out different and interesting characters from the communities to comment on Mandela – a narrative of these mixed feelings re-surfaced again and we decided to focus on a strand of them all which seemed optimistically carry a message of hope. Even gangsters seemed to respect him, or so we could establish a few. Though others blamed him for the lack of radical transformative economic policies to develop local communities.

2 hours later it was 12pm and the actors had to go home. I gave them a homework to speak to people, ask them about their views and what they would like to say or do for Mandela Day. The next day we met again and re-worked our narrative with real testimonies of people. In a way, given the disparities in views, instead of making a decision about which side to sway the argument, I let the testimonies of the people we interviewed speak for itself. Using most of these statements, we crafted a journey of a small man in his young career who is excited about a journey to cover the most important article of their July calendar – something that is an honour both within his workplace and community as a whole. It is a prestigious effort because everyone in the community will read that specific article; it will be read by doctors, lawyers, builders, loansharks, sangomas, taxi-drivers, etc. If you can’t read, it will be read to you; all you have to do is politely ask anyone. Such an honour is accorded to this man who wants to reflect the views of everyone in the community. Through him, we meet his community and interact with the local folk.

However, after an exhausting weekend gathering information, now he faces the difficult part; pulling all the pieces together to produce an article. The opinions are so varied and he must make the hardest choice of who to include or not. What he should also say about Madiba in the article now that he is exposed to so many opposing views. The work does not answer this question, however, it puts it to the audience to decide – from the testimonies they have heard – what are their views? Nonetheless, the young man does offer his account, very close to the actor’s own opinion, that irrespective of our different views of the man, the world would be a better place if we had more people like him.

36 Hours later…

Mandisi Lovemore Mara Sindo (aka Dr) wrote:

The Game is Up, Dr is Taking Theatre into another level.. Who said creative artists can not make a piece in Two days?…Once again Theatre4Change presents Madiba Theatrical Magic… Thanks to Loyiso Damoyi, Abongile Kroza, Mhlanguli George, Elliot Moleba (JHB Director of Sizwe Bansi is Alive) and other artists whom they availed themselves to be creative enough and create 20-30minutes short plays in two days. These 5/6 short plays/shows are to be presented at Makukhanye Art Room on Wednesday at 3 – 6 pm. Late coming is not accepted and late comers will not be allowed to enter the venue. Audience will donate from R2 up to any Rand. Come and enjoy the 60 minutes with these extremely talented individuals. If anyone wants to present something, please let me know and it must not be longer than 15 minutes.

Unite Jozi and Cape
Town in Theatre.

And 46 Hours later…

We made magic! The actors gave a fantastic and spontaneous performance!

Cape Town, July 2012.

Sizwe Banzi is Alive honours the memory of June 16, 1976

Hector-Peterson
Come watch us honour the 16th of June!
It’s a day we must all pay tribute to.
This is my small part!
untitd

 It’s a once off… it’s the last one …it’s open …it’s gonna be packed …it’s a double bill!
Sizwe with God
Date: June 16, 2012
Venue: space.com @ Joburg Theatre
(Braamfontein: former Civic Theatre) some people don’t know this

Price: R0.00 (donations allowed at the door)
Time: doors close at 4:30pm

Featuring: J.BOBS and J.BHOBOZA as the hosts of this event

Sizwe Banzi is Alive (working title)

Sizwe Banzi is Alive (working title)

Thu Apr 05 2012 at 08:00 pm            Add to Google CalendarAdd to calendar

  Venue : P.O.P. Art, Fox Street, Johannesburg, South Africa

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Sizwe Banzi is Alive (working title) is back again but now for its professional debut on stage at POP Art!
Through a presentational style, Masiza Mbali and Simpho Mathenjwa, brings to life a few multiple characters who will take the audience through a heartfelt story of a young man’s search for his grandfather, name and past. A definite blast from the past! by new, young, fresh and creative theatrical minds.
Join us on this EXCITING story and be a part of our humble professional beginnings as we pay tribute to a past that ties a South African people together. Even more so, come and enjoy a journey of a new work that is a reflection and a conversation with one of South African theatrical classics! This experience is guaranteed to leave all your senses enthralled and met with a theatrical delight!
Directed by : Eliot Moleba
We run from the 5 – 8 April 2012!
Thursday – 8pm Friday, 8pm Saturday, 3:30pm and 8pm Sunday.
Tickets are selling at R80 pp
We appreciate your support!
Thank you!

http://allevents.in/Johannesburg/Sizwe-Banzi-is-Alive-working-title/217460611681337#

Sizwe Banzi is Alive (Cape Town)

Cape
The official poster of the show in Cape Town.
For every action there is a consequence. For every missing man there is a family living with the mystery of his disappearance. Sizwe Banzi is Alive is a new South African play that recounts a story which is one case of the many unsolved mysteries of our wounded past, people and country. We bring you a heartfelt story of a young man’s search for his grandfather, name and past. A definite blast from the past! by new, young, fresh and creative theatrical minds.
Join us on this EXCITING story and be a part of …our humble professional beginnings as we pay tribute to a past that ties a South African people together. Even more so, come and enjoy a journey of a new work that is a reflection and a conversation with one of South African theatrical classics! This experience is guaranteed to leave all your senses enthralled and met with a theatrical delight!
Performed by: Thato Cele, Masiza Mbali and Simpho Mathenjwa
Directed by: Eliot Moleba

http://www.facebook.com/events/102928336511482/

Sometime during our run in Cape Town we had a triple bill with Nicola Elliot’s “Keepsake Minus 3” and Kim Kerfoot’s take on Athol Fugard’s “Statements After an Arrest”

Visit the website below for more details:

http://www.facebook.com/events/437850179567730/?ref=3

Press Release: Sizwe Banzi is Alive

Sizwe Bansi is Alive is a new South African play that tells the story of one of the many unresolved mysteries of our wounded people, past and country. The play brings to life multiple characters from the past to interact with our contemporary politics from the perspective of a young man, on a search for his missing grandfather.

The play is by young artists responding to the inherited challenges from the past. They feel the importance and relevance of this dialogue, especially as part of a youth month, is to reflect as young people how our past has played a role in shaping our contemporary socio-politically subjective identities.
Join them on this exciting journey and be a part of their humble professional beginnings as they pay tribute to a past that deeply ties a South African youth together. This entertaining new work, which probes, reflects and opens conversation with one of South African theatre classics as a point of departure, is sure to take you on a theatrical journey of memory and engage the senses.
The play is written, produced and directed by Eliot Moleba in collaboration with the cast: Masiza Mbali, Simpho Mathenjwa and Thato Cele. After its four-day run with seven performances at space.com, the show will visit Cape Town for three weeks from 12 to 28 July, where it will run at the Theatre Arts Admin Collective. It will also enjoy a tour of the local and township schools in Cape Town.
Venue: space.com at Joburg Theatre. When: 6, 7 and 8 June (19:30); 9 June (14:00 and 18:00); 10 June (13:00 and 16:00). Tickets: R50 (R40 for students).
Bookings at www.joburgtheatre.com or www.facebook.com/spacedotcom or call  0861 670 670.

Theatre For Change

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