Mthethwa Lucky Stars

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(Ian Steadman apparently has Mthethwe Lucky Stars, other publications, such as Temple Hauptfleisch 1985, have Metetwa Lucky Stars. Also known simply as the Lucky Stars).

Perhaps one of the better known and more influential of the early African vaudeville groups, founded in 1929 (1927?*) by Isaac Mthethwa and his brother Esau Mthethwa, influenced by Father Bernard Huss at the Marianhill Mission School, they drew their casts mainly from the Amanzimtoti College, and performed mainly in the Natal region.

Their performances consisted of songs, “tribal sketches”, dances, choral singing, in reconstructed Zulu costumes and the Zulu language, but apparently influenced by the European illusionist set to provide realistic painted backdrops to the sketches. The contents often historical and mythical stories and songs about the glorious Zulu past and an idyllic rural past. The performances were hugely popular with black workers and rural audiences. These included Ukuqomisa (Courting) and Umthakathi (Witch), devised by Esau Mthethwa and the cast, and performed in Natal between 1929-1936.

In 1936 they were “discovered” while playing at the Bantu Sports Club in Durban by Bertha Slosberg, and in the same year performed for white and other audiences under her auspices at the Durban City Hall (March), the Bantu Men's Social Centre in Johannesburg (May), and at the Empire Exhibition in October. The group apparently disbanded in 1937.


David Coplan, 1985; Robert Kavanagh, 1985 and Loren Kruger, 1999)

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