national Arts Festival Banner

Saturday, September 11, 2021


A play about the plight of the rhino

Ubejane! He smells the wind.  Ubejane! He sees as if in the mist. Ubejane! He hears the air. Ubejane!

Horn of Sorrow is an extraordinary piece of physical theatre creating in the mid 1980’s by Nicholas Ellenbogen with a cast of imaginative and dynamic actors in a workshopped environment.

The current production, which is presented for schools only (no public performances), is directed by Brendan Grealy who was part of the original production and who directed the 2012 production.

Although, being physical theatre and transcending all language barriers (especially important for educational / informative theatre in rural communities), it includes the spoken word (English and Zulu) and original music by Neill Solomon.

Telling the story of the then plight of the rhino (now again, sadly, as topical) it is seen from the perspective of a Vulture, the story teller, as well as from the point of view of poachers and local communities who see poaching as a means to earn money, rather than its causing the destruction, not only of South Africa’s natural heritage, but also fatal damage to the tourist industry.

Horn of Sorrow has an illustrious history. Public and critical acclaim, as well as countless performances world-wide, have garnered it:

- a Grahamstown Pick of the Fringe Award;

- an FNB Vita Award for Best Playwright of the Year (Nicholas Ellenbogen);

- a Scotsman Pick of the Fringe Award at the Edinburgh Festival.

It performed in 1993 for 17 members of the Royal Family at Balmoral Castle. It has also toured extensively throughout Malaysia, Europe and America. The tour of Germany in the early 1990's brought in funds for the Baviaanskloof Nature Reserve.

Reviews of 2012 production:[_id]=88971

The current production features Menzi Mkhwane, Mpilo “Straw” Nzimande, TQ Zondi, Mthokozisi Zulu, Nkosikhona Dube and Kaylee McIlroy

It can be performed indoors or outside. No technical support is needed. Presented in English and isiZulu, it is educational, relevant, entertaining and extremely moving. An excellent example of physical theatre it is suitable for all age groups.

There are no public performances. Should schools want to make a booking they should contact Jules on