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Friday, May 8, 2015


(Atandwa Kani)

Hayani, meaning “home‟ in Venda, is an original play by Atandwa Kani, Warren Nebe and Nat Ramabulana The play reflects on the meaning of "home" in the South African context and what it means to be South African.

The play, which enjoyed phenomenal success when performed previously in South Africa and at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2014, will be staged at the Loft Theatre as part of The Playhouse Company's New Stages season.

In fact, during May audiences can look forward to a feast of creative, original and thought-provoking productions, each one focusing on critical issues facing our nation today.

Hayani tells the story of two young black South African men trying to establish themselves in a country that is yet to define itself. Their journeys begin with each taking a trip back “home”, as they weave their personal narratives and try to better understand who they are.

Atandwa goes back to New Brighton in Port Elizabeth and Nat makes his way to Thohoyandou in Limpopo (formerly Venda). Each journey navigates memories from their childhood and teen years - some painful, some funny, some awkward, but each one enriched by the detailed and honest portrayal of the two friends.

Hayani, which is written and directed by Kani and Ramabulana, features evocative live music composed by Matthew Macfarlane. It was originally directed by Nebe, designed by Mak1 and produced by Drama for Life at the University of the Witwatersrand.

“Home is where the heart is, is the central theme of the play”, explains Kani. “Where is your true home? How do you find it? How do you keep from leaving it? These are some of the questions which we explore and deal with in Hayani. It is really the voice of a generation nearly lost and forgotten, and which is yearning to be heard. For us this is home-grown storytelling at its truest, a homecoming story which we hope will tug at raw heartstrings and which is honest.”

Ramabulana adds: "We use these moments in our lives to take the audience on their own journey down memory lane and give them an opportunity to remember the moments in their lives that brought them to who they are and what they are now. In essence we are reminding each other that we are all the same and we are all just vessels of memory and feeling trying to make sense of the circumstances that we have been dealt with.”

Hayani is an act of hope; a play of healing; a conversation long overdue in our country,” explains Nebe. “The play attempts to invite all South Africans into a conversation about home, identity and the legacy of the failures of transformation. In a delicate, gentle mode of story-telling we create a home-coming - a space for audiences to reflect on the footsteps they have travelled in and the footsteps they have carved for future generations.”

Hayani runs in the Playhouse Loft Theatre from May 6 to 10 at 19h30. Booking is at Computicket. Specials, schools shows and block booking discounts are available - call 031 369 9596 / 031 369 9540 / 031 369 9456