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The award-winning Thami aka Mongo directs the isiXhosa production of Amathaf’Entandabuzo, based on the book by Fikiswa P Magqashela, presented by the Baxter Theatre Centre, for a short season from 4 to 14 May.

Performed in isiXhosa with English surtitles Amathaf’Entandabuzo is loosely translated into Valley of Doubt, beautifully written, while dealing with complex universal themes of love. Amathafa means fields or valleys – a metaphor for love – and just like nature, there is nothing simple about it and we rarely ever know where it will lead to. Love has the ability to take one to heights of ecstasy or leave one in a state of despair, as it tries to find a way out of a valley of doubts. The story is layered with the intricacies of love and life, charged with passion and intrigue – betrayal, abuse and violence collide in a world where love is tested and proves its resilience.Director Mbongo brings together a formidable young cast of nine actors, featuring Ninkie Zimasa, Thembekile Komani, Bongile Mantsai, Mangaliso Ntekiso, Olwethu Mdala, Phumeza Rashe-Matoti, Nomakrestu Xakathugaga, Given Mkhondo and Anele Kose.

There are only two evening performances on Thursday 12 and Friday 13 May at 7pm, with all other performances at 10am and 12pm and a 2pmmatinee on Saturday 14 May. The book is a Grade 11 school’s set work.

Set design and lighting is by Luyanda Somkhence with costume design by Phumeza Rashe-Matoti. Additional writing is by Anele Kose with music composed and produced by Mangaliso Ntekiso and vocals by Nomakrestu Xakathugaga.

Author Fikiswa P Magqashela is the head of the Language Unit at the Communication Directorate: Western Cape Department of Health, a position she has held since 2006. Before that she was a language practitioner in the Premiers’ Department. She is an established creative writer of various genres and a translator in various fields.

Mbongo is the artistic director of the Baxter’s Zabalaza Theatre Festival (which recently received the Fleur du Cap Innovation in Theatre award) and earlier this year he received the Western Cape Cultural Affairs Ministerial Award for his contribution to the Arts.

“The play is cleverly written. I love how the author writes about the complexities of love and relationships, using landscapes and the weather to show the ups and the downs,” explains Thami. “Anyone who has ever fallen in love or is in love will relate to the themes in the play.”

He continues, “I am very excited to be directing a full-length production. I think it’s overdue. This is a chance to show how I have grown over the years in terms of directing. I am excited and extremely grateful to be granted this opportunity.”

This is the Baxter Zabalaza Theatre Festival’s third isiXhosa production preceded by Amabali Ethu (adapted and directed by Zoleka Helesi from Janice Honeyman’s Bangalory’s Back), and Akwaba (directed by Sizwe Msutu and based on the book by Thenjiswa Ntwana, also a 2015 school’s set work).

Amathaf’Entandabuzo previews on Wednesday 4 at 12pm and Thursday 5 at 10am, opens on Thursday 5 at 12pm and runs until 14 May, from Monday to Friday at 10am and 12pm. There are two performances on Thursday 12 and Friday 13 May at 10am and 7pm, as well as a matinee on Saturday 14 May at 2pm. There is an age restriction of 10 years, parental guidance is advised due to language and violence.

Tickets cost R40 and booking is through Computicket on 0861 915 8000, online at or at any Shoprite Checkers outlet. For discounted corporate, schools or block-bookings, charities or fundraisers, contact Sharon on 021 680 3962, email or Carmen on021 680 3993, email

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