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Play rekindles Kente's legacy

By unknown | May 12, 2009 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Patience Bambalele

Doyen of black theatre Gibson Kente might be dead but his legacy lives on.

Kente, who died in 2004, will be remembered when one of his famous plays, The Call,returns to the State Theatre in Pretoria. Presented by G Kente and Sons Productions, the show is directed by Linda Sebezo.

The Callis a musical written, originally directed and choreographed by the legendary Kente. It is the heroic autobiography written as the last testimony before Gibson Kente's death. He declared his HIV status publicly and won the hearts of many South Africans, including former president Nelson Mandela.

In the play, he cleverly raises arguments concerning controversial issues surrounding the HIV-Aids epidemic - the questions of stigma, denial, ignorance and the eventuality of dealing with the disease.

The play has received phenomenal endorsement and occasional standing ovations throughout South Africa, striking a strong mental note with a great many people.

The cast includes Mzwandile Nikane, Nonhlanhla Zwane, Nkosana Dlamini, Dikeledi Modubu, Mziwoxolo Noah, Mmule Mokgele, Nomazizi Molose and Nkosinathi Malinga.

The show plays from May 26 to June 7.

Kente arrived in Johannesburg in 1955 to study social work at the Jan Hofmeyer School of Social Work.

He never completed his studies but maintained a concern for issues of survival under adverse conditions, which he brought into his work. He started out in the arts in the early 1960s when he worked with the Union Artists in the hub that was known as Dorkay House.

From there, he became director of the group, for which he produced such plays as Manana the Jazz Prophetin 1963 andSikhalo in 1966. It was at this point that he broke from Union Artists to launch his own township theatre.


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