This Africa month, the South African State Theatre presents a hard-hitting play, Refugees, that shines a light on the humiliating realities of the journey of refugees in Africa.
The play follows people reduced to statistics trapped in a refugee camp. It takes audiences through personal stories of refugees, expressing their pain, sadness, soul searching, hope and questioning, exploring the power of religion and spirituality. It questions the state of freedom. How close are we to being free? The story is told through movement, song, images and narration.
Refugees director Mpho Jerry Pooe says it’s fitting for this play to take centre stage during Africa Month.
“We dedicate this play to Africa Month as it will make a big impact in making our people aware of their own continent. This is an attempt to free our communities from ignorance. Our hope of making our continent peaceful continues, our quest to challenge the world that Africa is not a dark continent continues.”
Pooe is the former artistic director of Windybrow Theatre, with more than 25 years’ experience in the arts industry. He has written and directed more than 20 productions.
The Soweto-born theatre maker’s work is popular in KwaZulu-Natal, where some of his plays, such as Moipone, Peace in the Valley, Ekhaya Poppie and Dinuzulu, have been seen at the Playhouse Theatre. Another musical he wrote and directed, King Cetshwayo The Musical, toured the UK last year.
“There are no answers or solutions, except informing the audience about the realities of being a refugee; the pain, the humiliation that they go through. The story is told through an African eye, digging deeper at the hidden greed by the West in ravaging our continent,” said Pooe.
The production features a crew made up of director and writer Pooe, choreographer Reggie Denster, production manager Mxolisi Ngubane, stage manager Kholwa Bhengu, stage hand Lungelo Nene and a cast made up of Mpume Mthombeni, Musawenkosi Shabalala, Thamsanqa Silindana, Gabriel Mpanza, Xolani Henema, Stella Zuma, Buhle Nkomo and Buhle Maphanga.
This production is presented in association with Wushwini Pan African Centre For Arts Culture and Heritage based in KwaNgcolosi, KZN. The arts centre is focused on developing community youth to become skilled artists for the arts industry. Pooe is the founder and managing director of the centre.
Refugees is on at the State Theatre until May 27. Visit: www.statetheatre.co.za for more details.