Renowned actors Misheck Mzumara and Thlupego Chisiza last Friday impressed when they performed the 1970s popular South African play Sizwe Bansi is Dead at HS Winehouse in Blantyre.
The two actors, who performed before an impressive crowd on the chilly evening, took patrons down the memory lane with the play having performed it a number of times in the past.
The play, a story about the experiences of black people in South Africa during the apartheid era, follows the life of a character named Sizwe Bansi. He travels to Port Elizabeth in search for a better life but has his pass book stamped and must return to his home King Williams town.
He, then, with the help of a friend Buntu comes up with a plan to ensure his continued stay in the city of opportunities.
They stumble on a dead man and take his passbook which is in order. The dead man’s name is Robert Zwelinzima, a name which Sizwe Bansi adopted and stats using the dead man’s pass book.
It is at this point that they agree that from that moment on, Sizwe Bansi is dead.
“That play generally talks about the desperate measures that people will go to when they are struggling to make sure that they survive,” said Chisiza.
Mzumara impressed with his accent which perfectly matched that of South Africans.
Commenting on the play, Mzumara said the play, though it depicts the situation during the partheid era in South Africa, it has some similarities to Malawi.
“In South Africa then apartheid favoured white South Africans. Many Bantu people could access certain privileges. In Malawi now some people are facing a similar problem because of being known to be affiliated to a certain political party,” he said.
Speaking at the end of the performance, one of the directors at HS Winehouse Nkhwachi Mhango said the place will continue to offer alternative entertainment.
“We are not just talking about entertainment, but entertainment for the right people who appreciate fine art and drama,” he said.
The play Sizwe Bansi is Dead was originally written by Athol Fugard and coauthored by John Kani and Winstone Ntshona.
The play gives a portrayal into the social and political racism experienced by black South Africans then.
In the local production, Chisiza took the role of Styles the photographer as well as Buntu while Mzumara took the role of Sizwe Bansi.