Entertainment / Arts And Books

Kulani Nkuna
2 minute read
13 Feb 2014
2:00 pm

Tales of a township

Kulani Nkuna

The musical seems to be the big ticket option for getting bums on seats in theatres in 2014.

IN FULL VOICE. Simphiwe Skhakhane belting out a tune in preparation for One Square Mile. Picture: Valentina Nicol.

The Market Theatre already boasts the James Ngcobo-directed The Coloured Museum, which is attracting good audiences; the South African State Theatre’s programme this year will feature Mambazo – The Musical that details the story of Ladysmith Black Mambazo; Road To Damascus (also at the State) features a strong musical element and Mpumelelo Paul Grootboom’s Protest at the same venue is described as “a drama with music”.

Meshack Mavuso’s One Square Mile is filling the musical gap at the Soweto Theatre. It is a celebration of Alexandra’s existence and neatly coincides with the township’s 102 year anniversary. Written and directed by Mavuso – who is famous for his acting work in Isidingo and Yizo Yizo – the play promises thrills and emotions – if rehearsals for the upcoming show are anything to go by. The work recreates the township’s vibrancy and seeks to relate untold stories about how Alex came into existence alongside the opulence of Sandton.

MOVEMENT. Dancers perfect their choreography in preparation for One Square Mile. Picture: Alaister Russell.

MOVEMENT. Dancers perfect their choreography in preparation for One Square Mile. Picture: Alaister Russell.

An Alex native himself, Mavuso was driven by the urge to aid young performers in his community to kick-start their careers.

“When I started off in this industry, I began with community theatre, and I didn’t study drama,” explains Mavuso.

“Angus Gibson and Tebogo Mahlatsi first saw me in a community theatre piece and went on to place me on Yizo Yizo. I didn’t audition, and my performance on stage was in a sense my audition. After Yizo Yizo, there was Zero Tolerance and then Isidingo and so on.

So these young boys in Alex watch these programmes and they know where I come from – and they have been approaching me to do something because theatre was my platform and they don’t have money to go to varsity or drama school.