national Arts Festival Banner

Wednesday, May 16, 2018


It was an honour to witness such passion and love. (Review by Philisiwe Twijnstra)

Durban University of Technology’s Drama Studies presented a wondrous and affirming double bill Insumansumane (An Unbelievable Story) and Ukufa kukaShaka (The Death of King Shaka Zulu) Written by Elliot Zondi and directed by Siza Mthembu.

The first show was performed outside in the open yard at DUT. Kufa kukaShaka (The Death of Shaka) is a story about the tragic assassination of the Zulu King. This play touches on themes about how humans can be devoured by power, hate, jealousy and, interestingly enough, it explores the belief that no human can be bigger than life. Which is what Shaka Zulu thought - that no-one could touch him because he believed he was the chosen one.

The second show followed inside the theatre. Insumansumane is a story about a dire conflict between chief Bhambada and the Colonial Army and how Bhambada declared a rebellion against the British army to defend the Zulu Nation. The story is relevant to what South Africa is going through at the moment. There is no better moment than this to tell such stories and for young actors to be exposed to their language.

I was invited for the premiere. Walking in the rain, I was greeted by a beatific audience experiencing a manifested Zulu kingdom at the back yard of Courtyard Theatre. The weather proved not to be everyone’s friend, although the actors performed with full concentration and dedication.

All the actors from the double bill showed an unbelievable commitment to be truthful and engaging to the stories.

The production features 65 second-year students headed by Miami Cele as Shaka in Kufa kukaShaka (The Death of Shaka) and memorable acting from Angel Dlamini as Umkanayi, Sphamandla Gazu as Umbopha and Motheo Mabeya as Dingane.

Insumansumane(An Unbelievable Story) was a great follow-up, headed by some strong performances from Thokozani Ngcongo as Bhambada, Simphiwe Msomi as Magwababa and Nkanyiso Gcumisa. An outstanding, striking and riveting performance by Mncedisi Mthembu as Undabazabantu.

It was an honour to witness such passion and love. I have to acknowledge the work Durban University of Technology is doing. The recognition of Zulu language and Zulu culture is a beautiful art.

The shows will run at DUT’s Courtyard Theatre until May 18, 2018. - Philisiwe Twijnstra