Xova Nhlanhla Dube, Zimkhitha Nyoka and Zimkhitha Kumbaca in XOVA. Picture: Mark Wessels
Xova Nhlanhla Dube, Zimkhitha Nyoka and Zimkhitha Kumbaca in XOVA. Picture: Mark Wessels

The season of XOVA at the South African State Theatre follows its competitive campaign at the National Arts Festival in July, where it topped the fringe programme which featured over 500 works in various disciplines.

Ukuxova – a metaphor for raising a child

XOVA, which is written and directed by Joseph Komani, is a Winner of the 2019 Standard Bank Gold Ovation Award. Its upcoming run is from 11 to 29 September 2019.

Produced by the State Theatre in association with the Ozone Fellas, the performance art piece examines father absenteeism in the upbringing of children to highlight the brunt women carry in solo parenting.

XOVA, or Ukuxova, is a Xhosa word denoting the mixing of dough for baking. Here it’s a metaphor used as the process of raising a child. The show employs movement with some text in Xhosa through its narration. It features an all-women cast led by household names, Charmaine Mtinta and Zimkhitha Nyoka.

Komani and the production progressed with speed through State Theatre’s development programmes. In June 2017, the production debuted at the theatre’s Youth Expressions festival. Komani was then selected into the 2017/2018 Incubator Programme which equips semi-professional artists with training that preps them for the mainstream industry. This year his production was listed amongst five works that were presented by the State Theatre in Makhanda’s NAF.

“It has been a very tough journey,” says Komani. “To tell a universal story with an African language such as Xhosa without using any projection of interpretation and have different audiences (white and black) understanding the story, has been a highlight for me.”

Komani was born in 1990 in East London (Mdantsani), Eastern Cape. His love for theatre started in 2007 when he enrolled at a drama school called Moonyth Drama House. In 2009 he wrote his first one-man show titled The Interpretation inspired by Gerard Sekoto.

The work performed under the State Theatre’s Mzansi Fela festival. His writing and directing grew tremendously, resulting in him co-writing a play called TWISTED with Mpumeleo Paul Grootboom.

The show previews on 11 and 12 September ahead of the grand opening on 13 September. XOVA tickets are  R100 to R120 at Webtickets, or at Pick n Pay. For group, school and corporate bookings call the State Theatre’s sales department on 012 392 4000.

All the intel

Produced by: South African State Theatre in association with Ozone Fellas
Writer, Director: Joseph Komani
Choreographer: Mpho Maifadi
Musical Director: Nebo Mafabatho
Featured Artists: Charmaine Mtinta, Zimkhitha Nyoka, Nhlanhla Dube, Gina Mabasa, Nondumiso Mabena, Busisiwe Mazibuko, Nonstikelelo Mfene, Gomotsegang Rangwashe

What: XOVA
When: 11 to 29 September 2019
Where: South African State Theatre, Pretoria, SA