IQHUDE Troupe Takes National Arts Festival Stage

| A node for African thought

IQHUDE Troupe Takes National Arts Festival Stage

IQHUDE Troupe Takes National Arts Festival Stage

The cast and crew of IQHUDE from the University of Zululand’s (UNIZULU) Department of Creative Arts in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Science (FHSS) are excited to represent the institution with their captivating show at the annual National Arts Festival (NAF) in Makhanda (formerly known as Grahamstown), Eastern Cape.

One of the major performing arts events on the South African calendar, the NAF commenced on June 23 and will conclude on July 3, 2022. It is a showcase of new work from some of South Africa’s best and most well-known artists, as well as that of creatives from around the world.

The university troupe consists of 22 students and eight staff members – all delighted to have been staging their play titled IQHUDE since June 29. Translated to “The Cock/Rooster”, the play is derived from a famous folklore song “Iqhude sekusile amanziawekho”. The concept is inspired by and explores a political misplacement. It shows the interface between apartheid and democratic South Africa, in terms of physical and mental dimensions.

According to Masedi Manenye, Creative Arts Department Dance Lecturer and Director of Iqhude, the apartheid spatial planning condemned and confined black people to “physical” spaces of inadequate and inhumane conditions in the villages and townships. Though most people own the land in the villages, the areas are dry and uncultivated.

“Democracy continues the same conditions, on a mental level, through multiple violations of socio-economic rights, basic human rights, corruption and land stealing disguised as land development. All these have continued the wounding and bruising of the black body, life and soul. There is a need for healing, remembering, returning and repairing. The performance seeks a breakthrough, a healing of both the black body and soul. It is a call for a reawakening of the people of the land,” said Manenye.

Professor Zoliswa Twani, Head of the Department of Creative Arts, believes that the university’s involvement in the festival is a big opportunity – specifically for students, who stand to gain the most out of it.

“This is an opportunity for the students and staff to demonstrate their capabilities and to network with industry leaders. Also, it is an opportunity to ensure that the programmes we offer at UNIZULU relate to the employability of students upon graduation – performing at the NAF will give them exposure and experience on how the industry operates so that they are better prepared when they complete their studies,” said Prof Twani.

She encouraged both staff and students to continue working hard and flying the UNIZULU flag high. The professor singled out Manenye and music lecturer, Dr Bhekani Buthelezi for their dedication to the play. She also expressed her gratitude to those within the university structure who had played pivotal roles.

“It is gratifying to work in an institution that is supportive of the creative arts field. Let me take the opportunity to appreciate our VC, Prof Xoliswa Mtose and her DVCs, Prof Nomlomo, Prof Seepe and Prof Kunene. And last but not least, the Dean of FHSS, Prof Masoga and his deputy deans,” said Prof Twani.

Sindiswa Mkhize, who plays one of the protagonists, said the cast felt honoured and humbled to have been afforded an opportunity to be part of the festival. She says that being involved in the production has enabled them to “truly comprehend the importance of encouragement, patience, synergy and diligence”.

Isaac Luyanda Gumede, another cast member, believes his participation in the NAF is opportune since he is doing his final year. On behalf of the cast, he pledged to make UNIZULU proud. “We go by the motto ‘We are artists, we give life to art’ and that is exactly what we will be doing in Grahamstown.”

Manenye said that their aim is to create work that questions and provokes. Although they can’t dictate the impact of the show, they hope it will challenge the audience to be better members of their societies and active in realising ubuntu.

– Mbuyiselo Mlaba

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *