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Saturday, August 25, 2012


Written by Wole Soyinka, Nigeria’s foremost playwright, The Lion and the Jewel is a topical comedy-drama dealing with the rapid modernisation of Africa, coupled with the evangelisation of the population. It will be staged by Durban University of Technology’s (DUT) Department of Drama Studies.

Set in the Yoruba village of Ilunjinle, the main characters are Sidi (‘the Jewel’), 'a true village belle', and Baroka (‘the Lion’) the crafty and powerful Chief of the village. Then there’s Lakunle, the young teacher influenced by western ways, and Sadiku, the eldest of Baroka's wives.

It chronicles how Baroka fights with the modern Lakunle over the right to marry Sidi. Lakunle is portrayed as the civilized antithesis of Baroka and unilaterally attempts to modernize his community and change its social conventions for no reason other than the fact that he can. How the Lion hunts the Jewel is the theme of this comedy-drama.

The story reminds us of the need for careful navigation and sensitivity in the conflict between Western influences and traditional beliefs. It gently prods a finger at the colonialism versus African culture debate, as the educated people in the village seek to spread their knowledge to the tribal people in an attempt to make them more modern. This is resisted in turn by the tribal people who see no point in obtaining an education as it serves no apparent use in their daily lives. This has driven a wedge between the traditionalists and the modernists.

The Lion and the Jewel is directed by Brian Pearce, Associate Professor of DUT Drama Studies, and features second and third year students in the roles. Assisting with the production is masters student in the department of languages and translation, Tope Adekunle, who is studying the works of Soyinka and will act as a literary consultant and costume designer.

The Lion and the Jewel runs in the Courtyard Theatre at DUT from August 25 to 31 at 19h00. Entrance Fee R35. For more information contact Lebohang Sibisi on 031 373 2194