Mandla Mbothwe iKrele leChiza the sermonIKRELE LECHIZA …THE SERMON. Created by the company. Directed by Mandla Mbothwe. Magnet Theatre.


I was fortunate enough to experience brilliant, meaningful, evolutionary theatre last night at The Magnet, with the opening of Mandla Mbothwe’s iKrele leChiza. A mix of professionals and Magnet students make up this cast of 24 (yes, a magical miracle seeing this many people on stage in one show again) for what can only be described as a transcendent experience.

As someone who only knows a smattering of Xhosa, the meaning of the exquisite text was hidden from me, but luckily, I had the programme notes to guide me, and my own theatrical intuition to rely on, as I completely absorbed the beauty, majesty, terror, history, domesticity and pain of this extraordinary work.

Singing, drums, a wonderful set and lighting (Linda Mandela-Sejosingoe), original choreography (Mzokuthula Gasa) all enhance what can only be described as sheer brilliance of performance, both individually and in ensemble, and the result is both spectacle and emotional storytelling that took my breath away.

Thando Doni and Indalo Stofile as brother and sister, Babalwa Makwetu as mother, Lulamile Bongo Nikani as father, Emmanuel Ntsamba (trickster), and Nomakrestu Xakatugaga and Nceba Gongxela as guardians of the ancestral realm are all extraordinary. I was riveted and mesmerised by them all. But the village; the ensemble is what blew my mind. Every move, look, word, finger, breath, every shake, slither, stare was executed to perfection and precision by these incredible young artists.

If Firefly is the perfect invitation back into the magic of theatre, Mandla and his team have created in iKrele leChiza what theatre can be and do to your soul and spirit.

What: iKrele leChiza …the sermon
When: 28 March – 2 April 2022 -7.15pm, matinees 29 March, 2 April, 3pm
Where: Magnet Theatre, Observatory, Cape Town
Tickets: R100; R50 concessions (scholars, students, pensioners); R70 (groups 10 or more)