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SA play at Protest Arts Festival

The 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

Itsoseng is the name of a small township in the North Western part of South Africa and the play is inspired by life in this community.

The play was premiered at this year’s edition of the National Arts Festival that was held in Grahamstown.

Written and performed by the talented actor Ompile Molusi, the production trails a political story that depicts unfulfilled promises in post-apartheid South Africa, 18 years after attainment of political freedom.

This masterpiece laments that, while South Africa 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 have been hoping for a better life since 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 become 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 that of many Zimbabwean communities.

“It will definitely prickle the inner being of most audience members 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 fête will involve workshops and debates in addition to many performances and exhibitions.

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