Mthatha talent hits national stage

Twenty pupils from Khanyisa High School in Mthatha are to perform a music and dance drama at the National Arts Festival
Twenty pupils from Khanyisa High School in Mthatha are to perform a music and dance drama at the National Arts Festival
Image: Ziyanda Zweni

A group of 20 pupils from Khanyisa High School in Mthatha will perform for the first time at the Grahamstown National Arts Festival, a dream come true for them.

Yesterday they rehearsed their music and dance drama, The Fundamental: Back from the Woods at the school hall for the last time before setting off for Grahamstown.

The drama is written and directed by their maths teacher, Siyambonga Fatyela.

Exploring tensions between Christianity and ancestral calling, the drama follows a king who falls in love with a commoner as a youth.

They have a son together out of wedlock. The Christian woman ends up hiding her son from the king.

With no background in acting, Fatyela said he started writing the play this year and, with lots of practice and hard work, the talented youngsters managed to perfect their scenes while juggling schoolwork at the same time.

He said the play was about societal issues.

“The king has an old traditional healer as an advisor and is looking at successors to replace him, and that is where the story builds.

“The lesson in this play is that no matter the belief, matters of life will always take over.

“We decided to take our work to the arts festival to see how it goes while we work on part three. It was very challenging to write the story, as now I had to bring reality, and sometimes you got too much or too little, but the support from the school and parents has been really good.

“When you put the pupils on stage their excellence comes out and that is what has motivated me to keep writing stories.

“I want them to use their art for their own benefit.”

They will perform at the NG Kerk hall today and again on Saturday.

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