The South African State Theatre in association with Afrikan Freedom Station premiered Song of Nongoma on 21 October 2016.
Song of Nongoma is a tale of an African queen told through musical instruments inherited from the gods for future generations. Written and directed by Dr Steve Kwena Mokwena and Dr Kgafela oa Magogodi. These two combined, they produce a composition of jazz featuring drama, poetry and film for theatre.
Song of Nongoma is a musical that tells a story of a music goddess, Nongoma and her battle with Nagai, the evil god of greed and hate. Nagai’s soul thieves go head to head against Nongoma’s sound warriors in this otherworldly story about life and music inspired by the magical writings of Isanusi (high sangoma) Credo Mutwa. Song of Nongoma is a free jazz operetta and a futuristic fable about the origins, death and rebirth of true music.
Steve Kwena Mokwena is a historian, filmmaker and cultural activist. He is the founder of Xivumbeko Media and the Afrikan Freedom Station, an afrocentric multi-media gallery. He has produced and directed numerous films, including A Blues for Tiro (2007), Our Father Who Art in Memory (2008), Biko’s Trail (2008) and Driving with Fanon (2009). Mokwena describes the musical piece as “a spiritual modern African story that is entertaining, educating for the entire family. This is an African mythology in the present tense.”
One of the directors and writers of the musical, Kgafela, brings to the show an element of poetry. Known for his mysterious writings, still today he cannot be figured out. He’s described as “something of an enigma in the arts world- Abdul Milazi of Sunday World.” He wrote his first book, Thy Condom Come, in 2000 and followed it up with Outspoken in 2004. Both books received rave reviews locally and abroad, leading to his work being translated into German, Dutch, French and Catalan. He wrote and directed the spoken-word films I Mike What I Like and Itchy City.
Song of Nongoma premiered at the South African State Theatre on 21 October 2016. When greed, hatred and evil meet beauty, make sure you are on the front rows of the Opera theatre to witness this tale as it unfolds. It will be a saga to tell your children’s children.
Written and Directed by: Steve Kwena Mokwena and Kgafela oa Magogodi
For more information, please visit South African State Theatre.