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Ga-Mchangani is a drama by Obed Baloyi, first performed in 1998. (Ga-Mchangani means "among the Shangaans" - a prejudicial term for Tsonga people.)


The heart-rending if hilarious exploits of a new Joburger who seems to have been born on the wrong side of the tracks as Joburg's black community is concerned. Mchangani arrives in Joburg with high hopes for a better life, only to become the victim of his neighbours' prejudice and the butt of their practical jokes. His dreams are shattered and his hopes end in tatters. Ga-Mchangani is a journey of laughter and tears as we follow the tragic-comic life of Mchangani. (Artslink)

Essentially focused on xenophobia in the New South Africa, the play also deals with a number of other social issues like gang violence, rape, child abuse and criminality. After the premiere production the reviewer of The Sowetan noted, “While the country is firmly gripped by politically correct customs and notions about the Rainbow Nation, Ga-Mchangani exposes the tribalism still prevalent in black communities. ... The play deals with stereotypes and people who tend to regard certain ethnic groups as outcasts” (Mokoena, 1998). [Van Heerden (2008)][1]

Performance history in South Africa

In 1998 the theme of xenophobia in the New South Africa was brilliantly explored in Obed Baloyi's Ga-Mchangani, a community theatre project that became a hit production at the 1998 Market Theatre Laboratory Community Theatre festival and in 2004 the piece was converted to a mainstream production directed by Arthur Molepo and revived for a 10th Year of Democracy season in the Laager at the Market Theatre.

The 1998 production was directed by Arthur Molepo, with Obed Baloyi, Lydia Hlongwane, Mokete Motseki, Bheki Khumalo, Kenneth Mabaso, Johannes Ramothopo and Jeffrey Lwate. It was the first South African play to be performed entirely in Tsonga.

Translations and adaptations


Ruphin Coudyzer. 2023. Annotated list of his photographs of Market Theatre productions. (Provided by Coudyzer)

Go to ESAT Bibliography

[Van Heerden (2008)][2]. p 110.

Sowetan Sunday World, 2 September 2001.

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