SABC News - Steve Biko honoured through play:Friday 19 December 2014

Steve Biko honoured through play

Friday 19 December 2014 18:47

Lerato Thipa

"Dinner with Bantu" is written by Xolisa Ngubelanga and has been making waves nationally. (SABC)

The festive season is notorious for wild parties and and reckless behaviour in townships. To counter this, a group of artists in Port Elizabeth is providing the youth with recreational alternatives by commemorating one of South Africa greatest sons, Steve Biko, through a play entitled "Dinner with Bantu."

The play, written by Xolisa Ngubelanga, has been making waves and getting attention nationally. This year, the cast performed to  full houses and received standing ovations at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown.

"Dinner with Bantu" zooms into the spirit of black consciousness, the cultural and political revival of an oppressed people. In the play, Nelson Mandela prepares his famous table for three to invite his trusted friends and comrades.

The table is where revolutionary ideas are shared and reflections on the South African struggle and progress are made. How far have we come since 1994? Mandela, Biko and Hani deliberate.

Ngubelanga says that the play is a wake-up call for South Africans to play an active role in changing their communities.


“The key message one can take away from the play is that it is up to us to -vuka (wake up). I would love to propose the play as a slap across the face. I would love to leave it to the people. Ok you have been slapped what do you do? Do you fight back or do you just wake up from the coma?”

Anele Panny who plays Steve Biko, says that the youth of today is not living up to the ideals that Bantu Biko represented.

“He left a huge legacy, but as the youth of today I don't think we are really following into what he believed was right for the black people. We are lost, we have followed the Western culture a lot and we have forgotten about us. Bantu wanted us to be proud of who we are.”

Artistic Director Xabiso Zweni says the play inspires audiences to use the little they have to make a difference. “At the end of the day it is about selflessness in whatever way we can give to our communities. You can share a skill, not necessarily share money or share bread.  I believe that as a director there is a lot people can share out there.”

Audiences in Port Elizabeth were very impressed with the offer, “We need as young people to play a role in uplifting ourselves and our community, using what we have. What I would like is for this play is to be broadcast to a larger scale - not to only about 50 people, because it is a play that puts one in a different thinking space.”

“Dinner with Bantu” is about encouraging people to building a culture of working together towards a common goal.

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