Artscape presents Ityala la Mawele

10/28/2015 08:50:03

Artscape Theatre is set to present the much awaited production, Ityala la Mawele, which forms part of New Voices Programme at the Artscape Theatre.

Adapted by Thando Doni, created by the company with musical direction by Bongi Mantsai and directed by Thando Doni and Mandla Mbothwe, Ityala la Mawele is an acclaimed isi-Xhosa novel by Samuel Edward Krune Mqhayi. Performed in isi-Xhosa, the story is set in the time of the historical King Hintsa kaKhawuta, and concerns a dispute between the fictional twins Wele and Babini over their deceased father’s estate. As they are born on the same day, there is a dispute as to who should take their father’s place. This is resolved via a traditional Xhosa legal trial, held at the court of King Hintsa, who presides over the trial.

Various people give testimony, key among them Khulile, an inyange (a wise, old sage) and thus a vital source of oral tradition, and the midwives who helped at the twins’ birth. The story also concerns the Xhosa tradition of ingqithi, ‘finger cutting’, whereby a child has his or her finger cut. A midwife, Teyase, is able to verify who is the first born by virtue of the cut finger (only one twin had his finger cut, the second born). Khulile notes that the reason the first-born is usually given priority and made his father’s successor is that he has more experience than his younger brothers, but that in the case of twins this argument does not really stand. By the end of the trial, both brothers are humbled and each proclaims the seniority of the other.

Through it’s musical and dance, the story is highly entertaining because of its storytelling element with its communication going beyond the spoken language so as to cater for all those who might not be familiar with IsiXhosa. It features an all-star cast of our industry such as Faniswa Yisa (known for her roles in Skin (2008), Endgame (2009 and Avenger (2006)), Bongi Mantsai (best known for his various roles in theatre such as Amaza, Love Affair and Karoo Moose amongst others), Chuma Sopotela (best known for her roles in Interrogation Room, Zulu, Mama Jack and many other theatrical performances), Babalwa Makwetu (credited for her roles in The Playroom and Mari and Kana amongst others) of the lingua franca and many more.

The production is part of New Voices, an Artscape Theatre Centre’s developmental program which concentrates on promoting young theatre makers, directors and writers. It is through this that the programme, led by the Creative Manager (Mandla Mbothwe) and his team, aims to restore the dignity and confidence of artists of multiple creative expressions and excavate the buried stories in reclaiming their identity in the mainstream platforms in their own terms.

“As Artscape it is crucial that we recognise the variables in processes of creating a story and creating bridges of emerging productions to main stream, a bridge between promising student productions into professional platforms”, says Mandla Bmothwe, Creative Manager for Artscape. “It is through this that the programme aims to restore the dignity and confidence of artists of multiple creative expressions and excavate the buried stories in reclaiming their identity in the mainstream platforms and to transform their own spaces to mainstream platforms in their own terms”, says Mandla.

Key Performance Dates:

- Wednesday, 04 November 2015 at 20:00: Press and opening night
- Thursday, 05 November 2015 at 20:00
- Friday, 06 November 2015 at 20:30
- Saturday, 07 November 2015 at 15:00
- Saturday, 07 November 2015 at 20:00
- Sunday, 08 November 2015 at 15:00

Tickets at Box Office, Dial-a-Seat and Computicket Outlets ranging from R50 – R80.

For more information on the production, please contact Themba Mzondi on 078 113 5216 or e-mail Account:
Tracy Hearne
Artscape Theatre
Related Venue:
Artscape Theatre Complex, DF Malan Street Foreshore Cape Town Western Cape South Africa