Bedroom dynamics heat up the Market


Amaxelegu is a brand-new play by award-winning actor, writer, director, theatre-maker, performance artist and all-round creative powerhouse, Qondiswa James. This edgy three-hander has emerged out of the Market Theatre’s Play Development Programme which was launched last year, and that focuses on unearthing and developing “fresh, urgent, or compelling” stories under the guidance of Artistic Director, Greg Homann.

In Amaxelegu, Qondiswa James curates a provocatively risqué yet relatable and beautiful story focussing on the bedroom dynamics of a young couple and their interactions with the woman who ‘cleans up after them’. The title roughly translates in English to “Messy People”. The play, which is mostly in English, includes some Xhosa. It’s a play about love in the time of non-monogamy, a journey into the complexity of present-day relationships. It is set in the bedrooms of the characters in a non-descript city in South Africa. They navigate the transactions of class and gender as they move between various private and domestic contexts.

Amaxelegu features an impressive cast which includes Shalima Mkongi, a UCT, AFDA and Waterfront Theatre School graduate in the role of ‘Thabisa’. Mkongi has several notable theatre and film roles under her belt including The Crucible, Cincinatti, Justice Served and Diamond City, in addition to being a sought-after voice actor. It also features Luxolo Ndabeni in the role of ‘Azola’. Ndabeni is a South African State Theatre product best known for roles in Lockdown (S1), Surviving Gaza and Gomora (S4). Audiences can look forward to how the two will portray the private and social dynamics of the play’s central relationship as Thabisa and Azola navigate their day-to-day lives within the backdrop of gender and class as young, upwardly mobile-middle-class black South Africans.

In the role of ‘Mama Priscilla’ is the veteran award-winning film and television actor, Nambitha Mpumlwana who is well-known for her work on screen in multiple, award-winning and memorable productions from Generations to Invictus, from Yizo-Yizo to Tsotsi and much more in between. Nambitha Mpumlwana recently featured in the hit-production, The Cry of Winnie Mandela at The Market Theatre, playing struggle icon, political activist, liberation fighter, and the first-first lady of democratic South Africa, Winnie Mandela.

Qondiswa James has built an impressive oeuvre of work since bursting onto the scene. She has studied and worked with an enviable array of playwrights, directors and theatre houses. Her directorial works include, Emhlab’Obomvu, performed at the National Arts Festival in 2016 and, Silindile, which was part of the UCT New Voices in 2017. She as awarded the Theatre Arts Admin Collective’s Emerging Theatre Directors Bursary in 2018 for, A Faint Patch of Light, a powerful re-interpretation of the legendary playwright Athol Fugard’s Statements After An Arrest Under The Immorality Act. That play was nominated in 2019 for 2 Fleur du Cap Awards for Best New Director and Best Actress.

More recently, Qondiswa James was part of the Centre for the Less Good Idea’s innovative and groundbreaking project “On Air: Visual Radio Plays”, which was an experiment with aural and visual interpretation of theatrical works with the play, Emalehleni. Qondiswa James’ star continues to rise. This time she brings her fearless imagination and boundless talents to the Market Theatre stage.

Completing Amaxelegu’s formidable team is set and costume designer Onthatile Matshidiso, sound designer Jannous Nkululeko Aukema, AV designer Jurgen Meekel and Andrea Rolfes, and lighting designer David Themba Stuart.

This is a fresh and bold production which will heat up those cold winter nights. Head to The Market Theatre this August and be the first to catch this sizzling new play directed and written by one of South Africa’s next wave of brilliant young theatre artists.

Age Advisory: 16 (SNL)

Language: English (with some Xhosa)

For reduced price block bookings (of 10 or more) and school groups, contact Anthony Ezeoke (Audience Development) at or 083 246 4950 or Mamello Khomongoe 081 572 9612.

For media enquiries please contact Lusanda Zokufa (Brand and Communication Manager at the Market Theatre Foundation) at or 011 832 1641 or 072 367 7867.

011 832 1641
The Market Theatre Foundation