School stages acclaimed Mhlope play

2010-07-27 00:00

GCINA Mhlope’s play Have You Seen Zandile? is the first production to be staged at Alexandra High School in ­Pietermaritzburg by drama teacher Ureisha Adimulam. It can be seen in the team-teaching room from today until Friday.

Have You Seen Zandile?, which has toured the world to critical acclaim, is set in 1966 and tells the story of Zandile, who lives with her Gogo in Durban. She’s very bright, loves school and wants to become a teacher when she grows up. But this future is ripped away when she’s kidnapped by her natural mother and taken to live in a rural area.

Far from her adored grandmother, dressed in a sarong, barefoot and cutting thatch grass, she learns to accept a different world. Her destiny, it seems, is all planned for her and her embittered mother is determined that she will marry her off to the son of the richest man in the village.

Back home, Gogo lives with her grief, making beautiful presents for her granddaughter which she places in a suitcase, leaving instructions that if Zandile is ever found, she must be given the case.

Moving, funny and full of Zandile’s shrewd, youthful insights, the play ­offers an illuminating window onto the world of the sixties with its issues of white dominance, rural hardship and black female repression.

Asked why she had chosen the play, Adimulam said: “This year, being the 50th year of Alexandra High School, I decided to do a production and, as this is my first one, I wanted to do something small. The Grade 11s did the play as text last year and I watched them do extracts of it.”

Have You Seen Zandile? has five performers — Nonjabulo Madlala (Zandile), Onela Mbuqe (Gogo), Thobeka Vilikazi (Lulama), Sanelisiwe Khoza (Lindiwe) and Bongeka ­Sibisi (another Gogo). All are Grade 11 pupils, except for Vilikazi, who is in Grade 12.

Rehearsals got under way at the start of the school year and the cast fine-tuned the play during the June-July holidays. “The girls have really enjoyed it,” Adimulam said, “they understand Zandile’s love for her Gogo and not wanting to be with the mother who abandoned her.”

Among those who will be watching the play on Friday will be Mhlope herself. Asked how she felt about the school staging her work, she said: “I’m honoured that after all these years someone wants to stage it … I’m looking forward to seeing it because you never know what to expect.”

Adimulam meanwhile is looking ahead and hopes to stage something bigger next year. “We have such talented children here. They have skills and talents but they are not able to show them off and so they get lost. I want to give them the chance to show those skills,” she added.

• Have You Seen Zandile? can be seen at the Alexandra High School team-teaching room at 3.30 pm today and at 7 pm from tomorrow to Friday. Tickets are R30 from Janet Watson at 033 394 8252.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.