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Tuesday, September 13, 2022


(Pics by Val Adamson)

Durban University of Technology invites you to watch ITSHALI, a production that forefronts the second-year drama students, performing in IsiZulu with translation by Sabatha Ngcobo.

Written and directed by Philisiwe Twijnstra. Assistant directors are Sithabile Zondo and Zama Ngcobo, stage management by Mbali Mkhize and Nomthandazo Mtshengu and Sphiwo Shange; with musical direction by Siyabonga Ntinga.

The writing of Itshali began during the playwright’s grant programme Distell Playwright competition 2018.  

“The concept was planted when I watched Inxeba The Wound film and my creative mind skyrocketed with ideas and questions. However, it was the backlash around the film that made me want to hear more from a woman’s voice. Therefore, this interested me to investigate what kind of rebellion would a woman harbour,” explains Twijnstra.

“This subject has become a difficult issue to navigate because of the lack of knowing, and lack of openness around the conversation. The ritual is supposed to be a monumental experience for a mother, instead it is changing livelihoods not in a good way.

“However, with this play is a call to stand, call to for rebellion to becomes a norm for mothers, to command spaces and which historically they were excluded. So that we could be in the middle of the conversation, to incite another thought.”

Which is what Malanga’s exhaustion stems from. As a mother of a boy whose body was never found, she needs answers. However, what comes is that she talks too much. When a womxn is silence, that is where more questions would be raised, that is where the quest for truth continues.

Malanga carries the strength of Mama Madikezela Mandela, and rebelliousness of Brenda Fassie, as Malanga faces two powerful injustices that are aimed at her, because she is a working class, black woman in systems designed to elevate patriarchy.

Itshali touches on conformity. It is engineered by one group of people, and women are meant to follow, which some do so and some like Malanga are haunted by memories of loss and grief. Itshali is an unrealistic ritual that burrows more holes and demands womxn to be silent about their sons. The ritual positions itself in a way that it keeps crucial matters hidden, it hides what needs to be addressed.

Itshali is a mother’s plea, a transit conversation between mothers and tradition.

The show runs from September 12, 2022, at the Courtyard Theatre, DUT Ritson Road campus:

September 12 at 19h00.

September 13. Two shows -15h00 and 19h00

September 14: 19h00


Bookings through Bawinile Mngadi on email: