iLembe to be staged by Soweto Theatre, Sibikwa Arts Centre


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iLembeiLembe is a powerful Sibikwa play depicting the last few months of the life of Shaka kaSenzangakhona, better known as Shaka Zulu.

It is written by Smal Ndaba and Phyllis Klotz in cooperation with Balungile Dlamini, Bhoyi Ngema (†), Andries Mbali and Jeremy Richard.

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Most of Fynn’s dialogues are taken directly from The Diary of Henry Fynn. Music composition and sound design by Themba Mkhize.

iLembe is a powerful Sibikwa play depicting the last few months of the life of Shaka kaSenzangakhona, better known as Shaka Zulu, whose statesmanship and vigour marked him as one of the most prominent Zulu kings. The year 2016, the 200th anniversary of Shaka’s ascension to the throne, presents the ideal opportunity to present an in-depth look at the life and times of this iconic historical figure.

iLembe offers the audience four very different narratives on uShaka by his clever, multilingual and cunning Xhosa interpreter Jackot Msimbithi, the adventurous, young controversial English trader Henry Fynn, his vengeful attendant Mbopha (who eventually murders uShaka) and his sister Nomcoba who fondly remembers the kindness her brother used to show her.

iLembe pays particular attention to oral sources and their credibility as historical information and refers to the different interpretations of uShaka, his reign and his death and the rise of the Zulu kingdom; the play juxtaposes the received earlier writings of white traders with the oral tradition and contrasts these two different perspectives on the famous warrior.

The play is accompanied by two female musicians/sangomas who play traditional instruments and form the chorus while warriors hold the narrative together with their dancing. The music and dance accompanying this play is not just the expected Zulu-traditional, through re-interpretation, contemporary dance, originally composed music and soundscapes by Themba Mkhize and choreography by Oscar Buthelezi, iLembe becomes a truly unique theatrical experience.

Contradiction and tension are the hallmarks of good drama and iLembe promises to entertain while provoking food for thought.

iLembe presents its narrative in isiZulu, isiXhosa and English while English translations are offered via subtitles

Soweto Theatre, in cooperation with the Sibikwa Arts Centre, presents: ILEMBE

“iLembe eleqa amanye amalembe ngokukhalipha”
(The axe that surpasses all other axes in sharpness)

Friday 5 – Friday 12 August
Duration: 1 hour 30 minutes (no interval)
Tickets: R50

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