Cont Mhlanga on new historical play

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Veteran actor and theatre producer, Cont Mhlanga has penned a new historical play entitled Inyelane.

Mhlanga told NewsDay yesterday the play focuses on the arrival of the Pioneer Column in Matabeleland in 1890 and the subsequent struggle for territory that ensued.

He said Inyelane is a word coined by Ndebele people at that time to refer to the Pioneer Column.

Central to the story is the role of Queen Lozikeyi who was totally against letting the Pioneer Column settle in Bulawayo.

“She was against the idea of letting Cecil Rhodes and the Pioneer Column settle here. While King Lobengula was diplomatic, she was not. It was due to her influence that the Pioneer Column ended up going to Fort Salisbury (now Harare),” said Mhlanga.

He said the play, would premiere at Amakhosi Cultural Centre at the beginning of March, would have a cast of theatre students.

“The cast will be drawn from first and second-year students who study at Amakhosi,” he said.
Mhlanga said Inyelane seeks to tell a historical story from the perspective of oral history.

“Most of the things we are told about are from people who wrote about what happened. Through this story, we are capturing another side, the side which most people do not know about and that is information based on oral history,” said Mhlanga, who is also the director of Amakhosi Theatre.

Mhlanga said most of his plays previously have been drawn from current affairs hence he decided to “digress somewhat and produce something historical”.