UNIVERSITY of Fort Hare (UFH) drama society performed their play Isandi seGubu (The Sound of a Drum) recently at their East London campus. in East London.
The UFH drama society consists of students who are not able to study drama at UFH as the university does not offer the subject as one of its courses.
Drama director Yanga Mabetshe said they are trying to inspire UFH to have a drama department for those who want to pursue a career in acting.
“Our purpose is to use performing arts to entertain and educate people about day-to-day social issues faced by different individuals within our community.
“The play teaches us as Xhosa people, and Africans, to value our culture and traditions, and to know our roots. The play also portrays the inferior role women are still made to play in African families and in their cultures,” Mbetshe said.
Mbetshe said the story is of a born-again Christian Nondumiso who has a spiritual calling and becomes sick. Her whose behaviour whose abnormal behaviour putts her at odds with both her Christian and traditionalist peers.
“From the Christian perspective, she is seen as demonically possessed while her more traditional friends and family see it as a sign that the ancestors are speaking through her.
“The play shows such debate between the two beliefs,” Mbetshe said.
“In the play, our main character, Nondumiso, has a spiritual calling and becomes sick. However her father, Dalindyebo, who is a born-again Christian, does not believe in the African culture and sees this calling as evil spirits.
“Nondumiso’s mother, Thandiswa, her uncle Zakharia, and her grandmother MaDlamini, try to convince Dalindyebo that she needs traditional help, but the father does not allow it.
So MaDlamini takes the matter to their local traditional leader where the whole village is invited to listen and offer advice.” That is where Nondumiso stands up to her father and accepts the calling in front of the whole village.”
Mbetshe indicated that they have been accepted to perform at the National Arts Festival (NAF) this year for the first time in the history of the university.
“When we were finally able to register for the festival, we were overwhelmed because going to the festival has been our goal for years., and we finally got the opportunity.
However, this unexplained joy was accompanied by worry because we are independent students and have no sponsors and are desperately in need of funding.
“We are also self-taught artists the experience will be a first for most of us and it will definitely be a life-changing opportunity. We are just very grateful.”