The Best of Zabalaza at the Baxter

Siyabonga Jim in Ukuwa Kwe Nkaba. Picture: Sithembele Jnr

Die 9de Maand (The 9th Month) will be staged from Tuesday May 28 to Saturday June 1, at 8.15pm, and Ukuwa Kwe Nkaba from Tuesday June 4 to Saturday June 8, at 7.30pm.

Betrayal is the over-arching theme in Die 9de Maand, which is performed in Afrikaans with an age restriction of 16 years. Four young men share a dark and painful from an after-party.

Written and directed by Tyron Zoutman from Lekker Jy Productions, the four-hander stars Earl Kruger, Zinedine Manus, Jay-d Sanderson and Yanick Sweers.

Zoutman, a dance and drama lecturer at Northlink College in Bellville, has consistently participated in the Baxter’s Zabalaza Theatre Festival since 2016.

In 2016, he directed and choreographed Our Winds That Heal, which won the Best Ensemble award. The following year, he choreographed, wrote and directed Katrientjie en die Broers (winning awards for Best Script and the Most Promising Actor) and Ungubani Wena (which received eight nominations). In 2018, his production of Kopieskloof was nominated for Best Actor and Best Actress awards. At the 2019 Zabalaza Theatre Festival, Zoutman wrote and directed an impressive total of three productions: Menswees (Best Actress award-winner), The Vow and Die 9de Maand (which also clinched the Best Ensemble award).

Ukuwa Kwe Nkaba, loosely translated, means “the cutting or falling of the umbilical cord”.

Mthombisi Mpandle has written and directs an ensemble cast of seven performers, comprising Wendy Mrali, Siyabonga Jim, Yolanda Ntayama, Molupi Lepeli, Zanokhanyo Saliman, Kagiso Ndima and Nomakrestu Xakathugaga.

Through music, movement and drama, the plight of women who are forced to raise their children on their own is tackled. Fathers are absent or have absconded. In many cases they are around but they refuse to take on the responsibility of parenting. However, when these children grow up and become young adults, they, understandably want to know who their fathers are, what their roots are, in order to complete their own lives. This powerful play calls on mothers to tell their children the truth, no matter how painful.

Ukuwa Kwe Nkaba is performed in isiXhosa with some English and there is an age restriction of 13 years.

Director Mpandle is a co-founder of Kraaifontein-based Light of Life Theatre Organisation, which was formed a decade ago, out of a need and a vision to nurture and develop raw talent in the area, through the creative arts.

This includes drama, dance, music, poetry and visual arts with the idea of creating opportunities for the immense talent that exist in the community and expose them to broader audiences. Mpandle is a graduate of New Africa Theatre, where he received the coveted Sybil Sands Trophy.

He has won many awards over the years including the Zabalaza Theatre Festival Best Director and Most Promising Production awards for Alunamda in 2016.

Die 9de Maand has matinee performances from Thursday May 30 to Saturday June 1, at 3pm.

Ukuwa Kwe Nkaba has matinees on Wednesday June 5 and Thursday June 6. There are two matinee performances on Saturday June 8, at 11am and 3pm, with no evening performance on the day.

Ticket prices are R100 and R60 for pupils, students and for block-bookings of 10 or more. Book through Webtickets.