The University of Fort Hare (UFH) Drama Society took the National Arts Festival (NAF), in Makhanda by storm recently, showcasing their theatrical talents during their performance at the Monument.
They performed a 57-minute play, titled Maxhoba Village: Lost Tribe, which centres around the titular a village and its inhabitants who believe the world beyond its boundaries to be the “Lost Tribe”.
“Although it has been existing for so long with people who made a successful living through acquiring knowledge, they are labelled as ‘indigenous’ and their ancestral land is one part of the villages that were colonially victimised,” drama director Yanga Mabetshe said.
“With the use of spiritual resources, grandchildren of the village continued to create a sustainable relationship with their natural environment but their unique personal, health, social and environmental resources are undermined and undervalued by the outside world.”
The GO! reported (NAF nod for drama society, May 24, 2018) that the 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.
“We found Makhanda with a mix of the arts from that comes around the world and we were got touched and moved culturally, academically and personally by the knowledge that it produced by it. We learnted so much from the mixture of diverse arts,” Mabetshe said.
Mabetshe said the people of Makhanda were full of ubuntu and welcomed them with open arms.
“It seemed like they were taught, to welcome us with love. The first few days, our show of our theatre set was were not that well attended, packed, but the last two days were overwhelming. The theatre was fully booked – to the an extent that there were extra chairs had to be put in.
“It was overwhelming to see other drama groups come and support us.”
Mabetshe said they gained a lot of knowledge which they are going to share and implement with the artists of East London.
“The way we create our work, the teachings we got from the festival, we will implement them here in East London,” Mabetshe said.
“We will do more research, and find those very silent voices that need their stories to be told.
“We are also looking to our community outreach programme where we will invite all artists in East London and the surroundings to come to UFH and share their talents. The event will be called ‘Imbumba’, which means ‘gathering’, so we will gather and showcase our creative skills,” he said. said Mabetshe.