Play mirrors SA xenophobic attacks


Playwright Blessing Hungwe has come up with a theatre piece on xenophobic attacks on Zimbabweans based in South Africa entitled Burn Mukwerekwere Burn.

Makwerekwere is a derogatory term used by South Africans to refer to foreigners in that country.

Hungwe told NewsDay that he wrote the play after his friend was killed in Cape Town during the height of the attacks in 2008.

“My friend was killed at the beginning of the disturbances. The situation was not bad at that time, but there were signs of a worsening scenario.
“I had to leave Cape Town before the situation got serious,” said Hungwe.

The playwright said he also lived in Cape Town in year 2000 and experienced “incidents of xenophobia”.

Hungwe and his five-member cast are currently touring universities around the country.

They have performed at Chinhoyi University, Africa University in Mutare, Great Zimbabwe University and are set to tour Lupane and Solusi universities next week.

Those who attend Intwasa Arts Festival will have an opportunity to watch the play on Friday and Saturday at the NewsDay Stage at Bulawayo Theatre.

“Those who will come to watch the play during Intwasa Arts Festival should come with an open mind and they will experience one of the best theatre productions this year.

“They will be blown away by something unique,” said Hungwe.

In Burn Mukwerekwere Burn, two Zimbabweans, a Shona and a Ndebele, meet in Cape Town during the xenophobic attacks and realise that they are in the same boat.

They then discuss the situation surrounding their jumping the border into South Africa to seek greener pastures and accept they are both trapped in a country that does not want them at all.

They decide to work together to find their way out of the trap.

“The message we want to relay to people is that they must not allow anyone to divide them either through tribe, race or nationality because those who divide them stand to benefit from the divisions.”

Some of the members of the cast besides Hungwe himself are Michael Kudakwashe, Patrick Tembo, Brezhnev Guveya and Rumbidzai Karize.

This year’s Intwasa Arts Festival is being held under the theme: “Art Without Boundaries”.