New stage production revives African folklore

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Nhlalwenhle Ngwenya, Showbiz Correspondent
A PLAY, The eye in the sand, is set to revive African folklore and the culture of family storytelling when it premieres at the Bulawayo Theatre on October 28.

Written and directed by Nonka Mabaleka, the play is meant to popularise African folktales which of late have not been popularised in comparison with Western fairytales such as Snow White, Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella among others.

“The new generation is no longer being told folktales as was the norm with the older generation when African folktales were passed from generation to generation.

“Western fairytales are known almost worldwide compared to African stories and that’s why I decided to come up with the play that’ll tell the African story to the whole world regardless of race and ethnicity,” said Mabaleka.

The eye in the sand has a 15 member cast including a toddler. The 30-minute long folktale revolves around a fierce lion that wants to eat a hare’s offspring but the cunning hare will have none of it and will do whatever it takes to save its family.

“There’re so many folktales that can be brought to the stage but I decided to focus on this one because it’s a folktale that’s closer to my heart as my mother used to tell it to me when I was young.

“There’re a lot of lessons to be learnt from the folktale. For instance, a hare is a small animal but at the end of the day, it manages to save its family from a marauding lion,” she said.

Mabaleka, who plays a leading role in the folktale, said the actors naturally gelled into the various roles and did not face challenges masquerading as animals.

“It wasn’t challenging for the actors to assume roles of animals. In this folktale, the set up is a jungle and the actors will be wearing African attire. Because of this, the audience will be able to draw lessons from the play in as much as actors will enjoy playing their roles.”

Tickets for the show are already available at the Bulawayo Theatre and Alliance Francaise for $5.

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