Azibuye may be tonic for Playhouse revival

Patience Bambalele

Patience Bambalele

With Azibuye Esazadlula, a new and vibrant music show, the Playhouse Theatre in Durban hopes to revive the place and attract more theatre lovers.

The show runs for a brief season, May 22 until May 24, as part of a series of new shows aimed at making the place attractive again.

The production is a musical celebration of amaZulu culture, traditions and customs, focusing strongly on indigenous ceremonies such as the umhlanga (reed dance).

The customs show respect and play a huge role in traditions of the amaZulu nation.

Show director Mapule Mchunu explains: "A thread linking the production is the observations made about the juxtapositions and complexities of life in contemporary South Africa, marrying age-old customs with contemporary Western traditions."

Mchunu says the production incorporates the tussle between the old and the new, the established and emerging traditions, which clutches at the lives of contemporary urban black people.

She says Azibuye Esezadlula also analyses 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 amaZulu tradition of emhlangeni." she says. "The participation of young virgins in this annual pageant remains a significant event on the cultural calendar.

"The ceremony comprises a gathering of maidens who are on offer to the king to select a future wife. It shows the respect the amaZulu community has for him."