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Saturday, August 1, 2009


Eager Artists continues its performance growth with dramatic work dedicated to struggle hero Andrew Zondo. (Review by Caroline Smart)

The African National Congress’s Statement to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of August 1996 ( informs that between April 1986 and September 1988, a “number of attacks on civilian targets with no connection to the state occurred.”

In conceding that MK personnel were responsible for such attacks on “soft targets”, the ANC maintained that the context in which they occurred was relevant. Acknowledging that breaches in policy did occur in a number of instances, it deeply regretted civilian casualties and informed that the leadership had taken steps to halt operations in conflict with policy. The document continues:

“The December 1985 blast in an Amanzimtoti shopping centre, in which five people were killed and over 40 people injured, provides a clear example of the manner in which the behaviour of the apartheid regime was a significant factor in provoking certain attacks which were in breach of policy.

“Andrew Zondo, aged 19, admitted to placing a bomb in a rubbish bin in the Sanlam Centre in Amanzimtoti on 23 December 1985. On December 20 1985, the Pretoria regime had launched a raid on Lesotho in which nine people were killed. In anger, Zondo left a bomb at the shopping centre. Andrew Zondo spoke with unmistakably sincere regret for the deaths which had occurred. Those responsible for the Lesotho massacre received medals at a secret ceremony. Zondo was sentenced to death five times and refused leave to appeal.“

This information forms the backbone of Eager Artists’ latest production, No Tears which deals with the life and times of Andrew Zondo who was hanged after his co-accused turned state witness. As Thembinkosi Ngcobo, Head of Parks Recreation and Culture for Ethekwini Municipality, indicated to the audience - one could view Zondo as a hero or a villain but before making that assessment, the content of No Tears should be seriously considered.

Still in its final formation stages, No Tears shows the potential of reaching the dramatic standard of the theatre company’s successful It’s a Man’s World which was co-directed by Eager Artist’s Artistic Director Jerry Pooe and Roël Twijnstra from the Theatergroep Siberia in Rotterdam. It was good to see Roël in the audience this evening, after having been at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown to witness It’s a Man’s World’s well-received appearance on the fringe festival.

No Tears has a strong cast who, apart from needing to understand the concept of “looking for the light” when there are specific lighting spots on the stage, put in good performances. Eager Artists is blessed with having not one youthful and passionate actor to play Andrew Zondo in Bongumusa Shabalala but two - with his perfect replica being his twin brother, Musawenkosi!

Other acting honours go to Xolani Dlongolo as a fellow prisoner and Elizabeth Kaskie as Andrew’s mother. Good support comes from Eager Artists stalwarts Xolani Henema (Andrew’s father) and Denis Mbele as the sell-out (impimpi) as well as from Nhlakanipho Maphulo (the other fellow prisoner) and Sphindile Myeni (doubling as Andrew’s girlfriend and the gossipy neighbour).

No Tears performed to schools this past week and there will be a further public performance at Stable Theatre tomorrow (August 1) at 19h00 – tickets R30 at the door. The play is expected to return to Stable Theatre in September, by which time I am confident that it will be a production to be reckoned with!

More information on Eager Artists on 031 301 8752 or 078 498 6228– Caroline Smart