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Thursday, May 23, 2013


(Sifiso Simamane. Dolly Hadebe, Mayuri Naidu & Ashwin Singh)

Culture Clash, a locally scripted drama, debuts in Durban this weekend as part of The Playhouse Company’s New Stages 2013 season…

Hybrid mixtures of different cultures make South Africa one of the most culturally diverse countries in the world. It is against this background that the new play, Culture Clash, came into being.

Written and directed by Edmund Mhlongo, with Ashwin Singh collaborating as script editor, this potent drama about love between a Zulu boy and an Indian girl in Durban, both from culturally conservative families, is infused with engaging touches of humour.

“South Africa as a whole is a study in diversity and contradiction,” says Mhlongo. “It is the most ethnically diverse country in Africa, hosting the largest populations of whites, Indians, and people of a mixed-race background on the continent. Though around 70% of South Africans consider themselves to be of black African descent, they are not unified by culture or language. The country has large populations of Christians, Jews, Hindus, and Muslims as well as believers in traditional Khoisan and many African traditional religions. Indeed diversity is in our nature!

“A truly useful paradigm of understanding of Africa will necessarily incorporate all that is African into its framework,” he continues. “We cannot understand the problems that exist nor the successes that are occurring daily if we cannot take in the full spectrum of Africa - the agrarian and the industrialized, the urban and the rural, the black and the white and the Indian and Asian and the expatriates - the pitfalls as well as the sources of great and enduring hope.”

The plot of Culture Clash revolves around Bhekani Mthethwa, Zulu boy from a rural background, who is at the University of Durban-Westville where he meets a dream girl of his life, Latisha. A major challenge is that Latisha is of Indian origin. Bhekani is therefore not sure how his parents will accept her. He is seriously in love with Latisha who comes from a conservative Hindu family.

Mthethwa, Bhekani’s father, is a traditionalist but also a churchgoer. His mother, MaNcube is a practicing Sangoma but a very open-minded person. Latisha’s father (Reddy) is a former foreman of Sorghum Brew firm in Durban, where Mthethwa worked as a labourer. Both families do not want to hear anything about the marriage of the two. It’s a culture clash.

The cast of Culture Clash, headed by Wiseman Mncube as Bhekani and Derosha Moodley as Latisha, includes Mayuri Naidu, Ashwin Singh, Dolly Hadebe, Smah Mbatha and Sifiso Simamane.

Schools performances are in the Playhouse Loft from May 22 to 24 at 12h00. Public performances are on May 24 at 19h30 and May 25 at 15h00 and 19h30. Tickets R55 (R15 for schools performances). Booking is through Computicket on 0861 915 8000 or online at or call Playhouse Box Office on 031 369 9540 (office hours).