Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Princess Magogo - The rise of a Star

Thobekile Mbanda, playwriter and artist
If you weren’t at The Steel Shed in the historic Queen’s Park last Wednesday night you missed a fascinating show. 

The all Bajan cast


















 A group of local actors took on the character and spirit of the Zulu people in a play written by the South African play writer; spoken word artist, story teller, teacher and community activist, Thobekile Mbanda.
She  is a granddaughter of Chief Dlokwake Mbanda from the Inchanga Village in Kwa Zulu Natal South Africa.  She is well travelled as an artist and known as Thobs the Zulu Queen.

Princess Magogo preserving the tribe's stories in song.
The play is based on the true story of Princess Magogo Dinuzulu, the Zulu Princess who revolutionised Zulu tribal music long before apartheid and Nelson Mandela and describes how she was able to bring about an empowering change for women who  were never allowed to become praise poets and singers. 
She is like the Bob Marley of Zulu music and inspired such artistes as Mariam Makeba.
The play explores the culture of the Zulu and through the eyes of Magogo’s takes the audience on an enchanting journey of Zulu expression and song. 
Princess Magogo being tormented by her sisters
because of her passion for singing.

The Bajan cast did very well, the affected accents bought some authenticity to the play. 
Princess Magogo was played by the lovely Ayesha Gibson-Gill who has a lovely singing voice and bought credibly to the role.
King Zinizulu and Queen Mandlovu rejoice that the Princess has
chosen the family and marriage tradition before her singing. 
The evening was rich and great value for money.  After the play ended we were entertained by a hastily put together girl band, Thobekile herself on guitar, other girls on bongo drums, steel pan, drums, and electric guitar, most of the music was original and good.  A few other artist performed including Adrian Green, the lyricist and spoken word artist.
Thanks to Thobekile Mbanda for sharing this experience with us, for giving local artist the opportunity to perform their craft. Gracious thanks to Sonia Williams the play director (and general factotum), your hard work paid off.
We see the production of plays less and less plays each year so it was uplifting to see the theatre folks catching up with each other.  Wednesday night's performance was sold out to a mostly young audience which is very encouraging, clearly they too are yearning for more cultural events.

1 comment:

  1. Looks like I missed a great cultural experience. It has been years since I attended a play in Queen's Park.
    Glad you enjoyed it