For every missing person 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. 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.
This past week, Joburg was thrilled by an innovative performance of Sizwe Banzi is Alive. The theatrical work, directed by Eliot Moleba boasts a cast of two immensely talented actors: Masiza Mbali and Simpho Mathenjwa. Through a startling lack of props and a bare stage, the cast effectively captures its audience as they bring to life the beautiful and equally heartbreaking tale of so many families of this country.
South Africa is a diverse nation struggling every day to heal the wounds of the past. It’s powerful and promising present has been starkly cut out from a painful past but how is the present defined? It’s defined by those living in it and most importantly, by their identity. Sizwe Banzi is Alive explores this concept as well as the problems and emotions arising from the struggle to find that identity. The journey undertaken in this play is not the journey of one man but rather it highlights the personal struggles of many South Africans today.
Watching this show is not a one hour experience. The story lingers with the viewer long after the show has closed. The play maintains a brilliant balance of drama, suspense and a touch of humour; truly an eye-opening experience and a pleasure to watch!
“Sizwe Banzi is Alive is a play steering dangerously towards becoming a South African classic, just like the play that inspired it”
“Sizwe Bansi is Alive was the perfect mix of comedy, drama and suspense, enough to make you forget you were in a little theatre in a formidable complex”
Sizwe Banzi is Alive was performed at the Joburg Theatre in Johannesburg and Theatre Arts Admin Collective in Cape Town.