Shaka Zulu – The Gaping Wound Extended

Shaka Zulu

Tebogo Ditinti: Sunday, 14 November 2021 was supposed to be the final curtain call for Shaka Zulu – The Gaping Wound, at the South African State Theatre.

However, it turned out to be a celebration of an extension of the season.

Shaka Zulu – The Gaping Wound started with previews on October 19 followed by the official opening night on October 22. Written by the late Bongani Linda and now directed by Magabane Mavuso, Shaka Zulu takes us through the days leading to his mother Nandi’s passing as well as his very own demise at the hands of his half-brothers.

Shaka Zulu – The Gaping Wound is a story about severe pain and grieve. A power hungry and blood thirsty leader who could not handle emotional distress all too well. It was after his mother’s passing that he vowed to never smile nor laugh anymore. So much so that we see in the play how he could not allow himself to fall in love with the Phamphatha played by the beautiful Zama.

The story of Shaka Zulu is one that is long and wide. The Gaping Wound focuses only on one aspect, his last days. The beautiful music, the outstanding Zulu dancing by both men and women, the magnificent set and the detailed costumes makes this production even more amazing. The cast is definitely something to write home about. We see Nkanyiso Bengu in his theatre debut as Dingaan, Mduduzi Mabaso (Suffocate) of Rhythm City and Mgedeza of Diep City as Mshongeni the Praise Poet and advisor to the King. The 41 cast members including an 8-piece band makes Shaka Zulu – The Gaping Wound the largest musical to hit a theatre stage during a pandemic.

According to the Artistic Director of the South African State Theatre, Mr Aubrey Sekhabi: “Shaka Zulu is being very well received and we will run it until nobody comes, it will play until it runs dry.” If you still have not seen it, you still have a chance to do so. I have seen it twice already and still planning to see it some more. It simply gets better.

Amongst the audience on the night were the South African State Theatre’s council members, the CEO of The South African State Theatre Dr Sibongiseni Mkhize, the late Bongani Linda’s wife Mahlodi and daughter Mbali Linda. Amongst those who were acknowledged on stage was Mbongeni Ngema, which left me wondering why he was there.

According to a trusted source who was there on the night said Mr Ngema just got up from his seat and took to the stage uninvited while the Artistic Director of the South African State Theatre Mr Aubrey Sekhabi was in the middle of his speech. Being as generous as he is (Mr Sekhabi) he gave him a moment he was clearly thirsty for.

Maybe the old timer misses his Sarafina days of glory, but this moment was not his, he could have remained in his seat like the more important people.

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