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Sunday, January 18, 2015


Director Sanele Gumede succeeds in presenting the true meaning of freedom. (Review by Caroline Smart)

This year, the Musho! Festival presents two programmes under the title Musho With a Twist. Created by the individual groups with mentorship through Twist Projects, each show contains a double bill of two short stories.

Yesterday’s first production in Musho With a Twist 1 was Freedom Forest from the Izwi Youth Theatre Group, written and directed by Sanele Gumede and featuring Sabelo Khoza and Siyabonga Majola.

The audience enters to find veteran Sthenjwa Dlamini seated on a block, dressed in his old camouflage uniform. He is drunk, bottle in hand, listening to his tape player and moving erratically to the music. He harangues the audience when they don’t rise immediately for the national anthem and then hones in on the words “live and strive for freedom”. Once he feels he has finally bullied the audience to attention, he launches into a tirade about freedom. He was trained and fought for freedom ... but freedom for who and what? Because he doesn’t have it.

Sabelo Khoza puts in a consistently strong performance as the man taught to change his thinking. Into his dream comes a black-caped and hooded character who instructs him to go down the river to the forest where he will find his precious freedom. Once there, he encounters a hunter who steals his clothes saying that “freedom doesn’t come with nice clothes”. Then there’s a smartly-clad landowner who taunts him with models of a beautiful home and expensive vehicles.

One thing about Musho – which focuses on one and two-handers – is that it forces writers and directors to be creative. It also requires a strong level of versatility if there are a number of characters.

Taking on the other characters, which includes an evil spirit, Siyabonga Majola slips easily into the different roles bringing a good sense of energy and mood to each one.

Gumede’s aim was to present a production that sent out a strong message that freedom “doesn’t mean folding arms and expecting to be spoonfed”. He has certainly succeeded with Freedom Forest.

The other production in the double bill was Too Long presented by the Sinethemba Theatre Group. (See separate review)

Musho! runs until this evening (Sunday, January 18), offering a variety of one-off performances. For the full Musho! Festival programme visit

Tickets R50. (R30 students, OAP and PANSA members) booked via Computicket or by phoning 031 837 5999.
The Musho! Festival is presented by PANSA with support from the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund as well as Ethekwini Municipality, the KZN Department of Arts and Culture, The Daily News, BASA, the Catalina Theatre and The Twist Theatre Development Projects.  – Caroline Smart