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Saturday, April 29, 2017


Young Durban actor and writer Mphathy Shozi and his Mvuzo Performing Arts Productions have created a production about Isaiah Shembe, the first prophet of Nazareth Baptist Church

“The play is about the first prophet of Ibandla lamaNazaretha, Isaiah Mloyiswa Mudliwamafa Shembe known as uMqali Wendlela,” he explains. “The main focus is on the prophet’s life from birth until his last days.”

His family originated from Zululand. The father of the Prophet Shembe was Mayekisa, the son of Nhliziyo, the son of Mzazela, the son of Sokhabuzela, the son of Nyathikazi. They were from the Ntungwa tribe with the praise-name Nhlanzi, from Donsa.

The Rise is a poetic and choreographed musical show that tells the story through poetry, music, dance, acting and multimedia. The presentation is 70% in the Zulu language, 10% of Sotho language, 5% of Xhosa language and 15% in the English language. It tells the real story of this enigmatic and most interesting character in South African history.

Shozi explains the reason behind telling the story. “Southern Africa has a very rich cultural and political history, some of the most important aspects of that history have not been recorded, and sometimes it has been recorded insufficiently.

“The role of responsible and creative artists is to be the conscience, the heart and eyes of society. The two partners that have come together to collaborate in the theatrical recreation of one of the pillars of African Independent Churches are committed to the truth about African spirituality and moral regeneration. The Truth about Isaiah Shembe, better known as uMqali Wendlela (The Beginner of the Way) needs to be told properly and without prejudice. Theatre is an excellent way to blend various artistic disciplines in order to tell a visually interesting and spiritually stimulating story.”

Shembe is one of the most interesting figures in South African history and there has never been a theatre production that focuses on him as a leader and a God-Man.

“Our aim as Mvuzo Performing Arts Productions (Pty) Ltd and Green Ankh Productions (Pty) Ltd is to tell this story with as much reverence and attention to details as possible, so that the audience is not only educated about Shembe and the significance of AmaNazaretha, but also learns about African history and certain aspects of Zulu culture and the cultures that surround it,” continues Shozi.

Mvuzo Performing Arts and Green Ankh are looking for sponsorship for this touring production and those interested should contact Mphathy Ziphathele Shozi on 073 536 3340