In the spirit of ubuntu and of greeting please tell the entire Readership of your full names and where are you from: Sanibonani, my name is Keitumetse Fisokuhle Mbatha and I am from a township called Wattville in Benoni.
Tell us about yourself in five artistic brief lines: I identify as an ambivert, sapiosexual, theatre-maker, humanitarian with that hippie love.
Who or what inspired your passion of being in this field: My childhood friends that I used to make rap music with inspired my passion to move into this field from grade 10. Other than that I am inspired by my family, friends, teachers, mentors, and people across all walks of life whom I’ve met each with their own unique story.
And what does it mean to you to be in this field: It means for me to be an artist is to be an influencer. I believe that as artists we have the power to heal, provoke conversation, inspire, educate and entertain. Knowing that, I am always exploring new ways of telling stories that will touch lives and not just the lives of others but mine as well.
Please briefly describe (the name of the play and introduce briefly your main character) your play to the Readership across: When Hope Met Themba is the name of my play and is directed by Naledi Modipa. It is set in two different worlds, a blue world, and a brown world. It follows the journey of two university students Themba, a black 21-year-old male studying Politics (played by Alex Sono) and Hope, a white 20-year-old female studying Drama (played by Megan Miller) at the same university but the two live separately in their blue and brown worlds. These two individuals coming from their two distinct worlds one day meet at a campus counseling group session focused on issues of identity. Here Themba reveals his burgeoning regret with the decision he took of studying Politics that was mainly driven by his parents, while his lifelong passion for acting continues to linger.
When Hope Met Themba consists only of two actors playing multiple characters and a minimalistic set designed by Sinethemba Mathe. The play’s storytelling is accompanied by music composed by Mathapelo Wesinyane and Zipho Mokoena as well as free verse, while its style is inspired by African aesthetic traditions such as the use of multifunctional props, mime and is also inspired by Experimental theatre.
What inspired your writing vibrancy in the direction that you have taken with your play: What inspired me to write this play as vibrantly as I have was my journey of moving from home to Johannesburg City to study Theatre and Performance at the University of the Witwatersrand. When I got to the university space I made new friends and I got introduced to different cultures.
What does the play reflect about our immediate society, and also the global community: The play reflects on how despite a cultural shift that occurred post-1994 in South Africa, we remain a divided nation of people due to our differences. It also highlights how socioeconomic inequality amongst South Africans continues to serve as division.
What does this play mean to you at this stage of your career: This is the first production I’ve written and produced and I am working with many creatives with a variety of skills, therefore, I learn so much from them every day in the workspace.
So you are in the midst of a broad Readership audience, what inspirational energy drawn from your play can you articulate to them: When Hope met Themba is such a beautiful yet sad love story filled with humour, courage, and theatrical magic. Every second of the play is heart-warming and is accompanied by soothing sounds of the saxophone played by Mathapelo Wesinyane as well as keys by Zipho Mokoena. Not forgetting a bench we witness transform into anything from a bed to a car and literally just a bench throughout the play.
And lastly, please let the Readership know about the when, where, how (much is the ticket) of your play.
When Hope met Themba will be showing at the Wits Nunnery Theatre
Monday the 28th of January 2019 @ 11am and Thursday the 31st @ 11am.
Tickets are R15 at the door