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AZIBUYE ESEZADLULA (article first published : 2008-05-18)

A vibrant original musical examining the rural-urban dichotomy, Azibuye Esezadlula (Going Back to Our Roots) is part of The Playhouse Company’s New Stages series and comes to the Playhouse Drama from May 22 to 24.

Staged by Isiqiniseko Performing Arts Project, the production is a musical celebration of Zulu culture, tradition and customs, focusing strongly on indigenous ceremonies such as Emhlangeni (Reed Dance), customs of respect and other vital traditions of the Zulu nation.

A common thread linking the production is the observations that are made about the juxtapositions and complexities of life in contemporary South Africa, marrying age-old customs with contemporary Western traditions. The production incorporates the tussle between the old and the new, the established and the emerging traditions which grapple in the lives of contemporary urban Black South Africans.

Azibuye Esezadlula also examines the question of spirituality and looks at the complex links between traditional culture and Christianity in modern day living. A notable example is the established Zulu tradition of Emhlangeni (Reed Dance). The participation of young Zulu virgins in this annual pageant remains a significant event in the Zulu cultural calendar. The ceremony comprises an awesome gathering of maidens who are on offer for the King to select a potential future wife. It shows the respect the Zulu community has for this Royal figurehead.

Literally translated into English “azibuye sezadula” means “bring back the good old days”. The director Mapule Mchunu tackles the debate of “Was it better back in the good old days where cultures weren’t ignored or forgotten?” The question asked in Azibuye Sezadula is: “We are here now, we can’t go back, so let’s look at ways of making it better!”

Performances on May 22 and 23 at 11h00 (schools) and 19h30 (public) and on May 24 at 19h30. Tickets R15 for scholars and schools bookings should be made through Mala Govender on 031 369 9456.

Tickets R30 for public performances booked through Computicket on 083 915 8000 or The Playhouse Box Office on 031 369 9540/9596 during office hours.




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