Zabalaza promises to be bigger and better

Curator Mdu Kweyama, Monde Myataza who does marketing and sales for the festival, and artistic director Bongile Mantsai answering questions from the media.

One of the thrilling things about this year’s Zabalaza Theatre Festival is that it is giving entertainment to people worth more than their money.

It will also give performers a brighter future beyond the event itself by offering them bursaries to study further.

The ninth annual Zabalaza Theatre Festival was launched at the Baxter Theatre in Rondebosch last Thursday, February 21.

The festival returns with fresh and vibrant works together with a weekend programme for the whole family.

It will be showcasing some of the finest theatre and emerging artists from all over the province.

Speaking to the media at the launch, curator Mdu Kweyama said he was looking forward to good productions and new programmes at the festival.

He said this year’s event is not the same as the previous festivals.

“We have created mini festivals prior to the main event in our communities so for communities to support their kids. And they did not disappoint. We have content that is telling our stories. People are telling their stories. It is no longer a case of Hout Bay people telling a story of Khayelitsha,” he said. 

He said this year’s festival has nearly 40 theatre productions and events, featuring well over 100 artists and performers.

It is filled with innovation, relevance and originality. He encourage people to come see the productions. “We encourage people to bring kids to enjoy themselves. We have a weekend for them. They will have jumping castles and other ways to entertain them. This year we also have music like reggae, hip-hop and other genres.”

His colleague, artistic director Bongile Mantsai, described this year’s event as “bigger and better”.

He encouraged people to also buy bulk tickets for the less fortunate. “Remember we are also giving bursaries to students to study further. We felt that this should not be about the festival and after that artists do not know what is next. The money collected here will be given to some to study. But with the bulk tickets, we take them to schools and homes and places where there are people who are less fortunate. We will also send our buses to fetch them free,” he said.

He invited people to contribute in a meaningful way, to not only the festival but also to the artists and the arts.

He said individuals, businesses, corporates, organisations and the public, should consider buying bulk tickets, at only R30 a ticket. The media was given a sneak preview of some of the plays, which will be staged at the festival between Friday March 8 and Saturday March 16.

Some of the schools that stand to benefit are from Langa, Mfuleni, Khayelitsha, Nyanga and Philippi.