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BAYEDE-SHAKA FOR THE CIVIC (article first published : 2002-01-22)

Bayede-Shaka: The Spear Is Born, the popular musical-dance spectacular of Kwa Mashu’s Edmund Mhlongo which has had several successful runs in Durban, is currently running at the Johannesburg Civic Theatre at the Nelson Mandela Theatre until February 8.

It tells the story of legendary King Shaka - a Zulu hero, a builder of the Zulu kingdom and promoter of African unity. The musical is set up in a traditional Zulu royal kraal of King Shaka at KwaBulawayo. It starts with vibrating Zulu dancing as it follows u-Shaka reforming his famous spear at the Kwa Mthethwa kraal of u-Dingiswayo and then follows u-Shaka being introduced to the Zulu nation as their new king.

The musical portrays u-Shaka as a respected and gifted African legend - not a barbarian - who artistically initiated the very first echelon towards a united state of Africa. The storyline takes in his initiation of the first African democratic court, allowing his warriors to air their views on his reign; his fondness for the beautiful Phampatha and his clever dealing with the witchdoctors who were only excited to see the spilling of blood of their own.

Bayede Shaka: The Spear Is Born is written and directed by Edmund “Muzie” Mhlongo who also created such musicals as We Are Alive about street children in Durban which toured Denmark and London in 1996. He also created Cry Not Child which toured the UK in 1997and dealt with the effects of landmines on children of Angola, Mozambique and Bosnia. Another successful production was Our Voice, Our Rights which aims to increase awareness about child labour and was performed in England in 1999.

Bayede Shaka: The Spear Is Born is performed by a colourful 22 strong cast featuring the K-Alive accompanying band and drummers. This experienced cast has toured in Europe and has featured in various TV broadcasts and documentaries of BBC TV, ITV, Danish TV, Swedish, SABC TV 1, KZN-2-Nite, M-Net and various radio stations locally and internationally.

There are shows Tuesdays to Saturdays at 19h00 and Sundays at 14h00. Tickets R45. Booking is at Computicket.




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