national Arts Festival Banner

Tuesday, July 7, 2009


Brilliant production from Eager Artists leaves audience deeply moved. (Review by Sifiso Sikhakhane)

Durban director and composer Jerry Pooe and Roel Twijinstra have brought to the 2009 National Arts Festival a brilliant production, with their direction of a physical theatre piece, It’s a man’s world- umhlaba wethu, which had the audience deeply moved by the lesson they receive within the show.

It begins with the audience being kept in suspense by the two ancestral spirits who wander about on stage and keep on looking into the distance as if they await something. The music grows dramatically until four men storm in from the auditorium, moving towards the stage in song and dance, with a coffin on their shoulders. They are brothers, Mbeki (the eldest), Sxaxa (the middle one), with Goso and Sizo being the twins. The coffin which contains their mother’s corpse is left on the floor while the men sit, jump and lie on it during the wake of their departed mother; which follows their consumption of alcohol, encouraged by the ancestral spirits who keep on replacing the empty bottles in their hands with full ones. The continuous drinking allows the four men to say things they would never have said when their mother was still alive.

Born from different fathers, we discover that these men seek answers from their late mother and they all do not get along as brothers, but share their love for their late Grandmother.

Sxaxa, played beautifully by Thulane Mngadi, was raped by his adopted father. He hates women as he feels he has become one. This has caused him to go around seeking revenge from children such as the six year old girl he raped, revealing the anger and guilt inside him, especially that he is now infected with AIDS. Mbeki, who has been in exile spent most of his life in a disciplined environment and he wants to control his brothers. The twins have a bit of a good time as they keep on dancing. However, their violent side is later revealed to us.

An enormous teddy bear used in the piece which is associated with snow and virginity, signifies the purity and innocence of childhood.

The powerful music and lyrics used in the songs, composed by Patti Nokwe and Madala Kunene, had the audience sharing a tear, with some holding on tightly to their seats.

This wonderful show earned itself a standing ovation from the audience, leaving hope that people will take HIV/AIDS a lot more seriously. – Sifiso Sikhakhane