From socio-economic struggles to the dark side of politics, these stage productions are a must-see

A scene from ‘Ubhuku Lwamanqe’. Picture: Instagram

A scene from ‘Ubhuku Lwamanqe’. Picture: Instagram

Published Apr 23, 2024


In case you missed it, Soweto Theatre’s long-awaited Schools Setworks Festival is on.

The festival’s objective, which is highly recommended for all Gauteng schools, is to encourage individual expression.

The isiZulu set book, “Ubhuku Lwamanqe”, is a part of the festival offering. It is brought to life on stage with an ensemble cast of Andiswa Ngcobo, Thingo Mcanyana, Zevangeli “Zevie” Mampofu and Nkazimulo Mkhwanazi.

The powerful play follows people grappling with conflict, secrets, broken promises, crime and the inevitable consequences that shatter their lives.

“Ubhuku Lwamanqe” is celebrated as a metaphorical masterpiece about how the choices you make, dictate the trajectory of your life path. And this story looks at the catastrophic consequences of poor decision-making.

James Ngcobo, the artistic director of Joburg City Theatres, said: “We extend a warm invitation to all schools, granting learners and educators the chance to witness their set book’s storyline unfold in a completely unique form.

“Our theatre troupe will journey to your school, accompanied by the talented cast, allowing for an interactive question and answer session following the screening. This experience also serves as a window into the boundless artistic talents of local theatre practitioners.

“As we persist in delivering the pinnacle of South African performing arts through initiatives such as this, we eagerly await your presence at your schools in the near future.”

According to the press statement, the Schools Setworks Festival is a teaching aid for grade 11 to 12 set works, featuring a professional company assisting pupils in a practical, thought-provoking way. The programme provides the young cast with opportunities to explore theatre work fields, including wardrobe, props, stage management, creative directing, marketing and sound.

Where: Soweto Theatre.

When: Runs until April 26.

Cost: R80.

“The Brothers, Number One and a Weekend Special”

The gripping play explores the dangerous world of South African politics.

Penned by Richard Calland, a respected political analyst, it takes the audience through a labyrinth of personal gains, politics, manipulation, suspense and intrigue.

A minefield of through-provoking revelations, the play peels back the blinkers to how the new South Africa has been moulded by power, corruption and tumultuous events.

The audience will witness high-stakes manoeuvres, clandestine dealings and the manipulation of public sentiment that fuelled further racial division across the nation.

Calland’s masterful exposé of this world and its complexities is mesmerising.

Greg Homann directs the play.

Where: Mannie Manim, Market Theatre.

When: April 24 to May 12, at 7pm, and, on certain days, 3pm.

Cost: Ticket prices vary between R160 and R200 and can be purchased through Webtickets.


Based on a street dweller with multiple income streams, the production explores the devastating effects of the capitalist system on every hard-working black human.

The one-person show ingeniously crafts a mesmerising world where discarded items come to life in the hands of the protagonist, breathing new meaning into the overlooked fragments of society.

Beyond the mesmerising performance, "Yangthola!" serves as a powerful social commentary, shedding light on the harsh realities of South Africa's unforgiving capitalist system, reminding us all to see the beauty in the overlooked and the resilience in the marginalised.

Where: Ramolao Makhene, Market Square.

When: April 25 to May 1, at 7pm, 3pm and 1pm, times dependent on the day.

Cost: R100 and can be purchased through Webtickets.

“Spring Awakening”

Scarlett Pay (Wendla) and Dylan Janse van Rensburg (Melchior) in a scene from ‘Spring Awakening’. Picture: Supplied

Critics are raving about this production, which is presented by Luitingh Alexander Musical Theatre Academy (Lamta). And if you haven’t got around to seeing it, there are a few more days left to do so.

Directed by Sylvaine Strike, the groundbreaking musical, loosely set in 1895, has consistently pushed boundaries and captivated audiences with powerful storytelling, unforgettable music and thought-provoking themes that surround the trials and tribulations of growing up in the oppressive society of the day.

It is based on Frank Wedekind’s controversial play.

Please note that “Spring Awakening” contains mature themes, partial nudity, sexual situations as well as explicit language. No persons under 13 are allowed.

Where: Pieter Toerien Montecasino Main Theatre.

When: Until May 5, at 7.30pm. Weekend times differ.

Cost: Tickets are priced between R200 and R350 and can be purchased through Webtickets.