The Story I am about to Tell
The Story I am about to Tell - Indaba Engizoyixoxa, conceived and produced by Bobby Rodwell, written by the cast with Lesego Rampolokeng. Performed at the National Arts Festival, 1999 with Robert Colman as director, assisted by Ramolao Makhene. The cast included Duma Kumalo, Ramolao Makhene, Catherine Mlangeni, Mncedisi Kenneth Nkosi, Dan Robbertse and Thandi Shezi. Special advisors Thloki Mofokeng and Maggie Friedman. Organised by the Mehlo Players and the Khumulani Support Group. Originally workshopped at the Market Theatre Laboratory. Raising debate around the concept and process of truth and reconciliation is its aim. The workshopped production brings together professional actors and three ordinary people who share their real life experiences of abuses in the apartheid era.
Source: National Arts Festival programme, 1999.
It premièred in the Market Theatre Laboratory in September 1997 as a workshopped production. The project was conceived and produced by human rights activist Bobby Rodwell of the Khulumani [Speak Out] Support Group, which was formed in 1995 by families and survivors of human rights abuses, and the production was funded by the Department of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology. Three members of Khulumani, (non-actors), Catherine Mlangeni, Thandi Shezi and Duma Kumalo, all three victims of horrific human rights abuses under apartheid, had testified at the TRC and their shocking true stories formed the core of the play. In line with the TRC’s and Khulumani’s therapeutic strategy of “speaking out”, the production aspired to heal mental wounds through the therapy of storytelling. The three appeared as themselves telling their life stories from the fictionalised context of a taxi journey, interacting with seasoned professional actors Ramolao Makhene, Dan Robbertse and Mncedisi Kenneth Nkosi, the latter three as fictional characters. The choice of a taxi-minibus as the setting was inspired by the TRC’s slogan “Journey to Peace”. It was originally conceived as a relatively small, low-budget Lab production, but it ended up playing for more than three years at arts festivals, in mainstream theatres, community halls, schools and churches throughout South Africa and also at festivals in Germany, Sweden, the Netherlands and England.
[Van Heerden (2008)] pp 100-102
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