PROTEST Arts International Festival (Paif) will this year host award-winning South African one-man play titled Itsoseng when the fiesta kicks off on Thursday.
Report by SIMBARASHE MANHANGO Own Correspondent
“Itsoseng” is the name of a small township in the North-Western part of SA and the play is inspired by life in this community. The play premiered at this year’s edition of the National Arts Festival that was held in Grahamstown, SA.
Written and performed by talented actor Ompile Molusi, the production trails a political story that depicts unfulfilled promises in post-apartheid SA, 18 years after attainment of political freedom.
The play laments that, while SA attained political freedom, the majority of people are still languishing in poverty.
It also tells a story of the frustrations and despair of the people of Itsoseng who had been hoping for a better life after the apartheid regime was dismantled.
Molusi plays Mawila, a young man who loses Dolly, the love of his life, when she is forced to get into prostitution due to hardships in Itsoseng. Mawila and Dolly grew up in the same neighbourhood and dreamt that one day they would raise a happy family.
Mawila is heartbroken as he watches the pretty Dolly being wasted away in this cruel world until she dies. The play is narrated from Dolly’s graveside.
He witnesses an entire generation succumbing to despair and hopelessness.
People in Itsoseng become frustrated as they witness their “rainbow nation”, just like other post-independent African countries, fail to bring new life.
Director of the festival, Daniel Maphosa, said: “We are grateful to host this play during the festival. It certainly evokes serious emotions within the Zimbabwean audience as there are striking similarities between the life in Itsoseng and those of many Zimbabwean communities.
“It will definitely prickle the inner being of most audiences as it explores the tragedy that befalls innocent young men and women in a supposedly free nation.
“When I watched this play in Grahamstown, most of the audiences were left in tears as they got touched by the story.”
Maphosa said he was impressed by the way Molusi delivers the play.
“The script is amazing while Molusi does his thing without much effort. Impressive is the fact that despite being performed by one person, it respects the basic tenets of storytelling.”
Paif will run from October 25 to 27 and the fete will involve workshops and debates in addition to many performances and exhibitions.