Joburg Theatre is gearing up to stage one of its most important works to date, Bantu - a play in memory of Black Consciousness Movement leader Steve Bantu Biko. 

The anti-apartheid activist died on September 12, 1977 while in police detention.
According to the stage play’s producer, Lindiwe Lekasapa, Bantu goes beyond education and entertainment. It is about introspection. 

“The play is mostly centred on reflection. Biko was very much a person of consciousness,” Lekasapa said.
“So as a people, we need to ask what we have done to ensure that we liberate ourselves from the bondage that we find ourselves in. 

“If you look at his writings, they all come back to consciousness. Are you conscious of yourself? Do you know who you are, where you want to be? Have you done anything consciously to get yourself from where you are to where you want to be? 

“Basically, that is the focus of the piece. As we mature as a nation, we need reference, going to the root somewhere. And this is one of those places we go to Biko’s writings, one of the places to get strength and knowledge and learn from experiences to where the fight started.”

Lekasapa added that Joburg Theatre as an institution had taken a conscious decision to celebrate legends.
“Of course we are an entertainment hub, but there is a need for us to always go back and honour the people who never got the chance to be honoured before. To reflect back, because it really influences where we are going as a nation.”

Bantu will be staged at the Fringe Theatre from Thursday to October5. It will cover Biko’s legacy as an activist, spanning from his youth to his untimely death. It will also offer lessons for a new generation of South Africans who seek to build and contribute to a more humane global society.


The Sunday Independent