Abongele Manka’s debut theatre production brings to life the Bible scripture from which the title of her play is taken.
Women, Thou Art Loosed, on at the National Arts Festival, is based on an excerpt from the Bible (Luke 13:12) in which Jesus heals a woman from an illness.
The story explores the lives of four characters of different ages, from different backgrounds, with the message that every woman has a story to tell.
The production’s cast of five actresses all reside in King William’s Town, and range in ages from nine to 25 years old.
Each of the five women are battling with different demons, such as heartbreak and infidelity.
Other themes include grandparents, who end up raising their grandchildren on a pittance, and the way in which divorce affects children, as well the pressure that some churches put on couples to get married.
The real star of the show turned out to be nine-year-old Unakho Kwatsha.
Manka said Unakho’s character Snomtha becomes the voice of reason in the end.
“To Snomtha these women are beautiful and strong; she looks beyond their inner scars and sees great, phenomenal people.
“Young children don’t see the world as we do.
“The role of the child is to basically show that the way we raise up children and what we say to them is important ... it will influence the way they respond to life.”
Manka staged this production under her King William’s Town-based arts academy, Centre Stage. “The people that came enjoyed it. We had a positive feedback and some came back on other days.
“The attendance was not satisfactory on all days but for a first-time production it was not bad. We will do better next year,” she said.
Manka said she planned to take the show to any stage there was. — firstname.lastname@example.org