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THE Durban University of Technology (DUT) Drama Studies Department takes a page out of the history books with its latest production, uNtombazi, which runs at the Stable Theatre to commemorate Heritage Month (September).
uNtombazi was written by AH Dladla. Set in the 1800s, it focuses on Queen Ntombazi of the Ndwandwe people, who uses dark magic to make sure that her son Zwide becomes the most powerful king.
Tonight spoke more about the production with director Siza KaMnisi Mthembu. He explained that Ntombazi was prone to chopping off the heads of leaders of nations and using them for witchcraft. “She successfully kills King Dingiswayo of the Mthethwa clan who raised the young Shaka of the Zulu clan as his own. The Zulus become powerful and defeat Zwide’s men. In the end Queen Ntombazi is defeated by King Shaka and the Zulus grow into a mighty nation.”
KaMnisi Mthembu said one of the reasons that this particular work was chosen amid the wide selection of African history, was that the author used “strong, authentic dialogue”. “uNtombazi also pro- files a women and covers the more common history – like that of King Dingiswayo and King Shaka.”
The cast of 45 students have been rehearsing for the past four weeks.
“The entire play is in Zulu, so when selecting the lead roles I chose actors who had an excellent command of the language and who were audible.”
KaMnisi Mthembu said although entirely in Zulu, he encouraged everyone to come and see it, even if they didn’t speak the language.
“The play is visually beautiful. The dance is choreographed by Mdu Mtshali… I’ve been training one student who is passionate about being a director, Mpilo Khumalo, and he has two acts and he’s done a great job.
“So we would appreciate people coming through to give the students support.”
Musical composition for uNtombazi is by Aphiwe Namba.
The cast includes Pride and Nolwazi Ngcobo sharing the role of Ntombazi; Sipho Zakwe and Simemezelo Xulu alternating as King Zwide; Sbusiso Ngcobo as King Dingiswayo; with Kwenza Ngcobo and Lucky Gcumisa sharing the role of King Shaka.
Thanduxolo Zulu, Stable Theatre manager, said: “In hosting a pro- duction from DUT this month, we are delighted once again to be fulfilling one of our core roles of encouraging young people to embrace the performing arts, providing a professional platform for upcoming young artists and opening our doors to audiences of all ages.”
• uNtombazi will be performed from Friday to September 24 at 6pm, with a matinée on Sunday at 3pm. Tickets are R40 (R15 for students) and booking is through Computicket. For more information contact Ayanda Fali at 031 309 2513 or Lebohang Sibisi at 031 373 2194.