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Redi Thlabi hopes Khwezi gets 'freedom' it deserves on stage

Image: Sunday Times

Calling in during a live interview between the playwright and talk show host Aubrey Masango on Radio 702‚ Redi Tlhabi expressed her pride and excitement over the play.

"I’m throwing my heart and soul (into) it (the play). I hope the State Theatre is giving you the freedom which (a) talented professional woman like yourself (Napo) deserves to adapt‚ interpret and present the story the way you see it‚" she said.

Khwezi… Say My Name tells the story of a young girl‚ Khwezi who grew up in exile as part of a communal village of aunts and uncles who fought an evil system. In her quest to know her father‚ Judson Kuzwayo‚ and to preserve his political life’s story‚ Khwezi ends up in Forest Town‚ where she is "sexually appropriated" by her father’s former best friend‚ comrade-malume Jacob Zuma.

In the musical play‚ Napo uses theatre license of strong languages‚ powerful dance pieces choreographed by Luyanda Sidiya‚ while the music will be "spiritual" and highly influenced by Malombo music.

"The play holds symbolic‚ provocative images and nostalgic visuals of the various rapes including that of Khwezi. But above all I have tried to hold dear the memory‚ the essence and feeling of Fezekile Ntsukela Kuzwayo as narrated by Redi Tlhabi and those who have witnessed her pain‚ as well as her moving deep scars. Khwezi indeed and truly represents many of us (even some of us who are yet to tell our stories of rape out loud)‚" Napo said.

The award-winning playwright and director previously brought to theatre‚ shows such as her provocative and hilarious one-woman show My Bum is Genetic Deal With It and The Fat Black Women Sing.

Napo also became the first black woman to write‚ produce and direct a play called A New Song at the Market Theatre Main’s stage (John Kani Theatre).

Khwezi…Say My Name will play from July 25 to August 12 at the South African State Theatre‚ Arena Theatre. Tickets are R110 at Computicket outlets across the country.

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