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Tuesday, November 25, 2014


In Blood is truly a celebration of life. (Review by Keith Millar)

In 2006, after recognising that there were few opportunities for disabled people to express themselves in the performing arts, two remarkable women gave up their jobs and formed African Sinakho Arts to rectify this situation.

This was the start of a rollercoaster ride for Ndileka Santi and Bukelwa Cakata which led to the rousing production of In Blood lighting up the stage at the Playhouse Drama Theatre this past week-end. Presented by the African Sinakho Arts Disability Theatre in association with the Playhouse Company, the production was part of the Playhouse Company’s programme Reflecting and Celebrating 20 years of Democracy.

Conceptualised by Santi and written and directed by Cakata, In Blood is a fabulous kaleidoscope of colour, dance, music, poetry and drama, as 80 young people, many of them with disabilities, give their all on stage with joyful abandon. It is truly a celebration of life.

Central to the idea behind In Blood is the colour red, the colour of our blood and thus the colour common to all people.

The plot of this energetic and inspirational musical tells the story of Duduzile, a blind village girl, who lives in poverty. Life is harsh with family violence and HIV Aids rife. Duduzile herself is repeatedly raped by her stepfather. Despite these hardships and through inspiring strength, perseverance and determination, she achieves a life of success, love and prosperity.

Playing the role of Duduzile is Thandi Gcwensa, an excellent singer and actress, who is herself totally blind. Her talent and resolve are the inspiration behind the production.

In Blood also delivers strong messages against the social ills that blight our society, such as violence against women and children and the HIV aids pandemic.

However, the overall message of the production is that with positive resolve, determination and persistence we can achieve anything. We must seize the moment and aim for active achievement.

The 80 strong cast of this production all give whole-hearted, carefree and enthusiastic performances. Many have disabilities of various kinds and they perform alongside their able-bodied contemporaries. However, before long one is no longer aware of the disabilities but rather charmed by the unbridled joy they all experience in being able to perform on stage.

Bukelwa Cakata and Ndileka Santi have made many sacrifices over the years but with the success of this heart-warming and inspiring production they can be justifiably proud of their achievements.

The show is part of an on-going national tour that will climax in an international tour. In Blood is funded by the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund. – Keith Millar