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Saturday, June 27, 2015


(Ntokozo Ngcobo & Nonkululeko Mchunu as they appear as Stone Age women. Pic by Andrew Griffin)

Dim-Dep is a new South African musical with a strong environmental and heritage theme, by Atlas Philani Duma, which comes to the Playhouse Loft for a short season from July 2 to 5.

The title is inspired by the sound that is produced by beating an African drum, especially by hands. It is also an abbreviation of Drum and Indigenous Music Development Project – an ongoing initiative run by Duma’s Sagiya Productions.

The cast comprises Nonkululeko Mchunu; Cherise Hlengiwe Filen; Ntokozo Ngcobo and Lee Ngamlana with music by Atlas Philani Duma; Smanga DJ Sweet Bhengu and Thonbani Mbatha.

The musical is classic “edutainment” – an engaging story with a strong environmental message. The story, crafted through a blend of dialogue, poetry, music, dramatic prose and monologues, is told over two time periods – contemporary urban and Stone Age. The narrators are two women, Sindy and Mpume, who meet in the rainforest near the Drakensberg Mountains in KZN. Through flashbacks we reflect on the life of early men and women living in the mountains. 

The story talks to responsible, environmentally-aware living, reminding audiences of the need to be self-sufficient, nurture the environment, minimize pollution, limit use of power and look back to age-old skills such as agriculture; 'emasimini' (crop fields); subsistence farming; responsible use of animal products and environmental sustainability.

Dim-Dep features a great musical score denoting the changing historical landscape: from Afro Blues to mainstream Jazz, to Bebop, to Cool Jazz, Modern Jazz, Pop, Hip-Pop, Maskandi, Afro Jazz and House.

The concept is informed by the history of the ancient Abangoni Tribe which has descended from central Africa lead by a Mr. Ntu. They ended up in South Africa and used the fertile land for farming and introduced concepts such as animal domestication and ploughing. They sought solutions to preventing animal extinction due to uncontrolled hunting and are remembered for their practical conservation and traditional methods of agriculture.

The production runs for 90 minutes with no interval, and is perfect for school learners of history, geography, life-sciences; music, drama and English. 

Dim-Dep - Faces of Natural Environmental Success runs in the Playhouse Loft from July 2 to 5 with performances from Thursday to Saturday at 19h00 and Sunday at 1500. Tickets R80 booked through Computicket or the Playhouse box office. For more information, contact: Sagiya Productions, Atlas Duma 074 542 7305 or email:

Dim Dep: Faces of Environmental Success has been made possible by KZN Department of Arts and Culture, Ethekwini Municipality and is supported by Izwi Lomzansi fm.