Mandla Mbothwe’s iKrele leChiza at Magnet Theatre

Indalo Stofile

Mandla Mbothwe’s, iKrele leChiza… the sermon, presented by the ReTAGS (Reimagining tragedy in Africa in the Global South) project and Magnet Theatre, runs from Monday March 28 to Saturday April 2, at Magnet Theatre in Observatory.

iKrele leChiza… the sermon takes on a magical realism style, which explores a dreamlike state of spiritual ecstasy that is as highly musical and choral as a sermon. It follows the narrative of brother and sister, Luphawo and Mesuli, who find themselves navigating a child-headed home, a reality for many South-African children. Their parents are stuck in a space between life and death. Their mother, played by Babalwa Zimbini Makwetu, is in an ancestral orientation room. She refused death until her body could no longer go on. Their father, played by Lulamile Bongo Nikani, is in a spiritual exile.

Luphawo, meaning the sign/symbol, is played by Magnet alumnus, Thando Doni. He seeks ways of finding their father as well as defending and restoring humanity in their home. Mesuli, meaning wiper of tears/comforter, is played by Indalo Stofile. She has to prematurely take on a maternal role.

Mbothwe is a senior lecturer and researcher at the University of Cape Town’s Centre for Theatre Dance Performance Studies and a director at Magnet Theatre.

He says “home” in the play represents humanity, a village spirit that is currently under siege.

The production is inspired by his desire to investigate themes of rituals and restoration. The title, in this sense, is a deliberate combination of seemingly opposing words in isiXhosa: ikrele is a weapon (spear) and associated with images of fighting, defence and protection while ichiza (herb) is used for healing and restoration.

iKrele leChiza…the sermon is part of a six-year research project, Re-Imagining Tragedy in Africa and the Global South (ReTAGS). This production has already had three iterations: an initial recorded version: Sonic Passages; a live/digital mutation and now the upcoming 2022 live production.

The show is at 7.15pm with two matinees on Tuesday March 29 and April Saturday 2, at 3pm. Tickets cost R100; R50 for pupils, students and pensioners; or R70 for groups of 10 or more.Book through Webtickets.