Play explores how spirit of ubuntu is under attack

Kuthle Myathaza in iKrele leChiza…the sermon. PICTURE: Mark Wessels

Director Mandla Mbothwe’s iKrele leChiza…the sermon, comes to The Baxter Flipside, from Thursday March 23 March to Saturday April 8, at 7.30pm, with Saturday matinees on March 25, at noon, and April 1 and 8, at 3pm.

In a collaboration with the Magnet Theatre Youth Company, the production takes on a magical realism style that explores a dreamlike state of spiritual ecstasy and, as in a sermon, is highly musical and choral.

iKrele leChiza…the sermon is part of a six-year research project called Re-Imagining Tragedy in Africa and the Global South (ReTAGS). The production has had three iterations thus far: an initial recorded version, sonic passages; a live/digital mutation and the live production.

It follows the narrative of two siblings, a brother and sister named Luphawo and Mesuli, who find themselves navigating a child-headed home. Their parents are stuck in respective liminal spaces between life and death; their mother in an ancestral orientation room because she refused death until her body could no longer go on and their father is in a spiritual exile. Luphawo seeks ways of finding their father as well as defending and restoring humanity in their home while his sister, Mesuli (wiper of tears/comforter) has to prematurely take on a maternal role in their home. Mbothwe asserts that “home” in the play represents humanity, a village spirit that is currently under siege.

Mbothwe uses iKrele leChiza…the sermon to argue that humanity or the spirit of ubuntu has become a wound in African society and is constantly under attack.

Tickets cost R160 through Webtickets online or at Pick n Pay stores.