BULAWAYO — Amakhosi Theatre will on March 2 stage an hour-long play entitled Inyelane.
The play, written and directed by Cont Mhlanga, director of Amakhosi Theatre Productions and choreographed by Thembi Ngwaru, is a fusion of drama and music performed by 22 students from Amakhosi and Iyasa dance group.
Speaking to NewsDay Mhlanga said the title Inyelane means “Pioneer Column”.
“The title of the play reflects on history, taking people to the days when the Pioneer Column came into the country. The column caused a stir and created internal conflict,” said Mhlanga.
He said the play was built around a Ndebele queen and her very young maid servant named Kamtapa, a corrupted word for Munhumutapa.
The girl is possessed by a spirit medium and she foretells to the whole community what is going to happen in the near future.
The elders and advisors to the king do not agree with her since she foretells that a white man would be buried at a sacred place within the community.
This stirs debate among the people because the belief is that the sacred place is the ancestors’ dwelling place. The elders and the king’s advisors say the girl’s prophesies are belittling ancestral authority.
Kamtapa foretells she does not see the king’s grave in the near future and this creates further conflict among the people since it means the king would have abandoned the people.
The king’s advisors plot to kill her because they say her message portrays the king in bad light and if given a chance, will further divide the community.
Kamtapa’s life is saved by the queen, who protects her since she is a favoured maid servant. The queen captures the wives of the white missionaries and holds them as ransom against Kamtapa’s head.
Mhlanga said the play was an artistic expression of events that took place in the country more than a century ago.
“Upcoming young artists and communities should be taught about how the African society and relations were distorted. It is the duty of artists to convey this message through dance and drama in a way that keeps the audience captivated while engraving the message in their minds.”