Biko play back on stage at last

Edward Tsumele

Edward Tsumele

The controversial "banned" stage play Biko: Where the Soul Resides, which depicts the other, "ordinary" lifestyle of the late Black Consciousness leader Steve Biko, is headed for Grahamstown in June.

The play, penned by novelist and playwright Martin Koboekae, pictured, is pencilled for the main programme of the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown, which takes place from June 26 to July 5.

This is the first time that the playwright has been given a slot on the main programme of the festival with the Biko play.

The controversial play plunged the Windybrow Theatre and theSteve Biko Foundation on one hand, and the playwright and novelist on the other, into controversy last year.

This happened when the Steve Biko Foundation, which was approached by Koboekae to do the play, turned down the request at the last minute when they learnt that the play would not be based on Biko's famous book, I Write What I Like.

On the verge of commissioning it to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Biko's death, they allegedly ditched it after its completion.

It was eventually played at the less glamorous Market Theatre Lab.

It's once-off critically acclaimed performance might have influenced the organisers of the National Arts Festival to allocate it the main slot.