The Awakening of a peoples theatre consciousness is an exciting affair.
For a long time my people appreciated jazz and simple shows on the stage.
We are at the moment, on the threshold of a very exciting era described by many as a form in African theatre. It is not a form but a very striking phase in our development as lovers of serious Theatre.
NONGQAUSE is a Tragedy based on the true story of a false prophetess who led her people — THE XHOSA SPEAKING AFRICANS of the 19th Century to destruction.
She claimed to have seen a vision in which the Spirits of her forefathers had advised that Xhosas must make a sacrifice — Burn their crops, destroy their granaries, kill their cattle, sheep and goats; and fast for 8 days. After the sacrifice she claimed, miraculously fattened cattle, sheep, goats would suddenly appear and fill their kraals, their granaries would be full, and armies of the dead would arise and kill all the enemies of the Xhosas and drive them back into the sea whence they had come.
People believed the false prophecy and perished. This is a play with a message and so has the music on this record.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: BASIL SOMHLAHLO
He says of himself ... ''Writing of the play started when I was in London. Inspired by what I saw other nations do, I threw my thoughts back home. A marriage between traditional Xhosa tunes and original choral compositions produced the music for the record.
In a candle lit creche in the African Township of Mofolo, Johannesburg, rehearsals for the play went on for six months.
After a great Gala opening the play ran without a sponsor for 3 months to-date and is still running. It is my proud duty to introduce their recording by an All-African cast of Actors and Musicians.''
BASIL SOMHLAHLO was born at St. Cuthberts Mission near Umtata, he grew up in King Williamstown. After Matriculating at St. Matthews College, he proceeded to Healdtown to do a Post Matriculation Teacher's Course. His first contact with drama was at the Jan Hofmeyer School of Social Work where he qualified as a Social Worker.
Starting off as a singer, he switched over to drama in 1960, studying under Nora Taylor. Since then he has worked with such leading producers as Cecil Williams and Athol Fugard. The holder of A.D.B. Diploma after studying with the British Drama League in London, Basil was for sometime Head of the Drama Department at Dorkey House in Johannesburg.
Plays acted include Cecil Williams' "Triple Bill", Steinberg's "Of Mice & Men", Satre's "Men Without Shadows", Brecht's "The Exception and the Rule", etc... His productions include "Mother Courage" by Brecht, "Prodigal Son" by L. Hughes, Shakespeare's "Coriolanus", etc.
PRINCIPLES APPEARING IN THE PLAY
NONGQAUSE (Mhlakaza' s Daughter) — ANN GXASHEKA
KING SARILI — ABSALOM GAMA
CHIEF SANDILE / ZANAZO — DAN POHO
COUNCILLOR GXALABA — MARTIN MOLEFE
MHLAKAZA — HAMLET QOTTO
MHLAKAZA'S WIFE — PRETTY NUWE
MAFANAVELE / IMBONGI — MAJOR NGQASE
JAN (Coloured Man) — Goodland Gwabe
NKWENKWANA (Mhlakaza's Son) — Lawrence Nkwana
N.B. All songs composed & arranged by BASIL SOMHLAHLO, MELODY MUSIC
NARRATOR — STEPHEN MOLOI
RECORDING ENGINEER — MAURICE CARUSO
DIRECTOR OF RECORDING — STRIKE D. VILAKAZI
WRITTEN & PRODUCED BY BASIL SOMHLAHLO
MALOMBO SOUND — JULIAN BAHULA, DENNIS NENE
BASIL SOMHLAHLO AND AFRICAN THEATRE ACADEMY
This production of Nongqause features Julian Bahula on the Malombo drums and Dennis Nene on flute. Bahula had just recorded the album Malompo Jazz with the Malombo Jazz Makers and Nene would soon be performing with Gideon Nxumalo on his album Gideon Plays.
Read more about Julian Bahula at jabulamusic.com.