The Artscape Theatre Centre is coming alive with stories in September, in celebration of Heritage month.
“We are stories that we tell ourselves.” So says Nigerian poet Ben Okri. While Heritage Month means different things to different people, Artscape will be celebrating heritage by telling stories and considering how narratives are reflected orally, written and in creative forms.
Through various disciplines, Artscape are setting forth to question identity, with a focus on “who we are, what we are and what we have been”, encouraging young and old alike to reclaim and restore the important stories of our heritage, to challenge misappropriations and find healing.
One of the undisputed highlights of the festival (which started in late August) is the musical showcase ‘Zoid. Zanne. Zolani’. Fans of more contemporary sounds will be thrilled to hear that Freshlyground’s Zolani Mahola, rock queen, Karen Zoid and soprano Zanne Stapelberg will be bringing their hit show to Artscape on Wednesday and Thursday, September 23 and 24, as part of the festival.
Back by popular demand, ‘Izityhilelo Zobuze’ by Lingua Franca will explore the concept of circumstantial inheritance through poetry and music from Thursday to Saturday, September 17 to 26, while ‘Words of War’ by Anele Rusi will tell stories of our heritage and history through inspiring poetry and songs of celebration, on Thursday and Saturday, September 24 and 26.
Much of South Africa’s heritage is tied up in the stories of our neighbouring countries, a point proven by ‘Born Around Here’, a production by Botswana’s Company@Maitisong. The piece tells the often unknown story of Botswana and other neighbouring countries’ contribution to the struggle for freedom in South Africa through the eyes of Botswana family.
Away from the stage, Artscape will host a dialogue titled ‘Connecting Creatives’ on Heritage Day while Artscape’s Tunnel (mural area between Artscape and Civic Centre Parking) will become the backdrop for ‘Ngokomzekeliso Wakhe (In His Image)’ – a performance art instillation by a multi award winner Chuma Sopotela, on Thursday and Saturday, September 24 and 26.
Bantu Biko said: “History works through people, and we have availed ourselves for history to work through us.” With their Heritage Festival, Artscape hopes to inspire theatre-goers to unearth their hidden stories and embrace their diverse identities.
MORE ABOUT THE PRODUCTIONS ON SHOW
WHERE: Artscape Arena
WHEN: Thursday to Saturday, September 17 to 26 (no performance on Monday, September 21, matinee performances on Saturday and Sunday, September 19 and 20)
TICKETS: R80 (R50 for pensioners, students, scholars and block bookings)
Directed by Mbongeni Nomkonwana and Lwanda Sindaphi, ‘Izityhilelo Zobuze’ is an exploration of the concept of circumstantial inheritance committed to a personal and intimate poetic memory and interrogation. A journey with Lingua Franca spoken word movement, the production is a narrative that fuses the complexities of opposing realities and the inevitability of newness that is and is yet to be.
‘Born Around Here’
WHERE: Artscape Arena
WHEN: Thursday, September 24, at 10am
TICKETS: Invited Guests Only
Many South Africans are unaware of how other countries helped South Africa and its liberation movements during the Apartheid struggle. This production, created by Botswana-based Company@Maitisong highlights the contributions of Zambia and Botswana in the struggle for freedom, through the eyes of Zake, a South African refugee who marries a Botswana citizen and undertakes underground operations between Gaborone and Lusaka.
The presence of political refugees posed grave dangers to nationals who were often harassed or killed for “harbouring terrorists”. Their stories are told while the play interrogates human vulnerabilities and fears, while shining a light on love, compassion and the spirit of Ubuntu.
‘Words of War’
WHERE: Artscape Arena
WHEN: Thursday, September 24 (2pm) and Saturday, September 26 (1pm)
TICKETS: R80 (R50 for students, pensioners, scholars and block bookings)
‘Words of War’ is a collection of inspiring poems and songs of celebration woven together with instrumental music. The production is a collaboration of thoughts and visions by Anele Rusi, Anele Kose, Nomakrestu, Masixole Mali and Aviwe Kalolo who call themselves “servants of the art and soldiers of the heart.”
With live sound by DJ Andre, ‘Words of War’ tells the story of a child haunted by voices and visions from “the other side”. It is a celebration of our scars and history.
(In His Image)’
WHERE: Artscape Tunnel
WHEN: Thursday, September 24, (3.30pm) and Saturday, September 26, (12pm)
This performance art installation explores the moulding of a person by using the elements of sand and water to symbolize life. It also explores how a body can be reshaped by fire.
* The Artscape Heritage Festival will be on stage until Sunday, September 27. Tickets are available from Computicket, or Artscape Dial-a-Seat on 021 421 7695.
Visit www.artscape.co.za for more information. Follow on their social media platforms, and use the hashtag #AHF15.