SA play set for Theatre in the Park premiere

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A South African play entitled Ten Bush is set to premiere at Theatre in the Park in Harare on November 6.
Report by Kundai Marunya

Written by award-winning South African playwright, actor and director Mncedisi Shabangu, the play is set in an ancient settlement surrounded by sugar cane farms near the Swaziland border with South Africa.

Ten Bush is a dramatic and intensely visual tale of witchcraft and intrigue about a village built on the graves of nine Swazi chiefs who were betrayed by the tenth chief, Malaza, during a battle with the Sotho tribe hundreds of years ago.

Since then the village, referred to as Tenbosch but known as “Ten Bush” by those who live there, became cursed with poverty and famine, and the first daughter from Malaza’s line also became barren.

Martha, Malaza’s heir, is tasked to lift the curse by sacrificing her unborn daughter in a bid to appease the departed ancestors who still haunt Ten Bush.

But Martha is barren and so orders her sister to sleep with her husband instead –– a decision that has consequences neither Martha nor any of the other inhabitants of Ten Bush could have foreseen.

A tale of betrayal, revenge, conspiracy and forbidden young love, the production makes use of a physical theatre style that draws from African traditions.

Ten Bush’s cast comprises local actors including Nothando Nobengula, Getrude Munhamo, Caroline Mashingaidze, Vusa Dzimasha, Anthony Mazhetese and Eddington Hatitongwe, and is produced by Daves Guzha.

It is the first foreign production to be featured in this year’s Theatre in the Park calendar fulfilling the foreign quota set aside for regional and international plays.

Another foreign play set to be staged at the Park will come from Zambia.

Guzha said it was an honour to be able to bring Ten Bush to Theatre in the Park.

“This is a pure piece of art and we are really honoured to have Mncedisi agree to come and do this play and most importantly to share his theatre experiences with Zimbabwean practitioners,” he said.

Shabangu started his career in theatre in 1992 and has gathered knowledge and experience in both community and mainstream theatre.

The play is set to run until November 17.

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