Reworked Zimbabwean musical to premier in Bulawayo

A Zimbabwean musical titled ‘Soil of the Son’ will be one of the main highlights of the theatre programme at this year’s Intwasa Arts Festival in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwean playwright Christopher Mlalazi. Photo:
Zimbabwean playwright Christopher Mlalazi. Photo:

The musical, which has been rebranded to ‘Warrior’, was written and directed by award winning playwright Christopher Mlalazi - a Zimbabwean based in Germany. The spring arts festival, this year runs from Monday, 26 September to Saturday, 1 October, across six venues in Bulawayo. This year`s theme is, Expressions.

The musical which made its debut thirteen years ago, has been reworked to include new traditional songs, dances and poems.

Set in history, the musical gives a glimpse of the childhood of Shaka the Zulu King, and events that led to his rise to power and 'anger' that forever changed the face of Southern Africa. It tells the story of the childhood of Shaka up to the time he takes over the chieftainship of the Zulu people.

This musical will be staged by Umkhathi Theatre Works. It is directed by Matesu Dube. The cast features Patrick Mabhena, Ishmael Muvingi and Nomvuyiso Mabi – three talented Zimbabwean artists.

The production will premier at the festival on Thursady, 29 September at the Bulawayo Theatre.

Mlalazi told that he is thrilled with the opportunity.

“It’s a perpetually young play as it’s is a musical based on history and tradition. It offers everything for everyone as it also delves into the art of questioning,” said Mlalazi.

He added, “We can say the musical is a fantasised psychoanalysis of the protagonist’s childhood. If we are to theorise, that factor in his childhood growth might have led him to be the legend or villain he ended up being as an adult, which also led to the creation of the Zulu Empire, one of the greatest at its time on the continent, and which ultimately led to the cold blooded assassination of the protagonist by his brothers.”

Mlalazi has previously written another successful historical play, titled Nkulumane, which tells the story of Mzilikazi and his son Nkulumane.

In early January, his book ‘Running with Mother’, was prescribed as a text in the Values and Culture class at a San Francisco university in the U.S.

This article was originally published in on 04 September 2016. 


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