KHWEZI…Say My Name, Play Written & Directed By Napo Masheane.
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. The noble cause against apartheid, was and 24 years of democracy later, it still remains a battle ground upon women’s bodies on different fronts. 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 Gedleyihlekisa Zuma. Through the rape trial and tribulations, we as the audience became part of KHWEZI’s court case against one of the most powerful man in South Africa. We saw what events lead her and her mother, to walk away from the land whose liberation her father’s sole purpose was to free. We are reminded that she was not just a body or a metaphor. Not just a face or a vagina. Not a battleground or ripples of horror. But that she had a real name:
FEZEKILE NTSUKELA KUZWAYO
We (Women) are not just bodies and metaphors. Not just faces and vaginas. Not battlegrounds or ripples of horror these are words that gave birth to ‘‘KHWEZI… Say My Name’, which is an adaptation of Redi Tlhabi’s Book; KHWEZI (The remarkable story of) FEZEKILE NTSUKELA KUZWAYO.
Through various explorations of RAPE, we the audience wear the skin of victims of such brutality. Our minds provoked and emotions interrogated push us to tap deep into the harsh reality of thousands of South Africa women. And while this play gives Khwezi a real face… the character that embodies her comes out strong, bold and courageous allowing this daughter of the soil to reclaim her real name against the land scape that has denied many women to own their bodies.
Playwright, Director & Multi-award winner Napo Masheane 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”. Fast forward to 2015, Napo Masheane 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). While picked up on the international circuit, was one of her monologues “Mama The Storm Is Outside” was chosen to be performed by leading actor, Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years A Slave) at Royal Court (London).
“… as a playwright and director I have used theatre license of strong languages, powerful dance pieces choreographed by award winning Luyanda Sidiya who is well known for creating SIVA commissioned by the Standard Bank Arts and the National Arts Festival, and most recently TREE produced by Idris Elba in the UK. I have drawn inspiration from piercing spiritual sound and music created by a brilliant, versatile and multitalented musician; known as one of the finest South African percussionists of our generation AZAH who is the protégée of Dr Philip Tabane’s famous band Molombo. 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 witness her pain, as well as her moving deep scars. FEZEKILE NTSUKELA KUZWAYO KHWEZI indeed and truly represents many of us (even some of us who are yet to tell our stories of rape out loud).”- Napo Masheane
Catch this remarkable story of KHWEZI…Say my name as of the 25th July to 12th August 2018 at South African State Theatre – Arena Theatre. Tickets available at computicket.co.za
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