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Indigenous Languages Celebrated at the Market Theatre


"Without language, one cannot talk to people and understand them one cannot share their hopes and aspirations, grasp their history, appreciate their poetry or savour their songs.”

- Nelson Mandela


For nearly 20 years, the 21st of February has been celebrated by UNESCO as the International Mother Language Day to promote mother tongue-based multilingual education. The Market Theatre has two productions XOVA and Father Come Home that showcases the Market Theatre Foundation’s ongoing commitment to present productions in South Africa’s diverse languages.


“It’s a difficult terrain in terms of building new audiences but the Market Theatre Foundation remains committed in its passion to give access to new voices and historically marginalised South African languages”, says Zama Buthelezi, the Brand & Communications Manager of the Market Theatre Foundation.


Xova will be staged from 25 March – 12 April 2020. Directed by Joseph Komani the production is performed isiXhosa mixed with English. The body language and emotions in the play carry the story in movement and song with a blend of a visual 3D feel enhanced by elements of symbolism and minimalism.


XOVA ‘Ukuxova’, a Xhosa word meaning to prepare dough for home-baked bread, is a metaphor for the process of raising a child, which is exposed in the narrative. The endured hardships of solo parenthood and father absenteeism is brought to stage for examination. Set on a dry and dusty village on the outskirts of Eastern Cape, Xova follows a young woman in a heavily disadvantaged family bringing a healthy child to life and having to raise it without the father.


Father Come Home will be staged at the theatre from 7 April to 3 May 2020. The play is adapted from prolific South African author, E’skia Mphahlele’s novel and translated into IsiPedi by award winning actress and published writer, Rami Chuene. The play will be directed by the 2008 Zwakala Festival winner, Clive Mathibe who is the creative director for the Imbokodo Awards.


“With the season of Indigenous languages Plays we hope to attract audiences at the Market Theatre who are familiar with the languages as well as audiences who have a curiosity for language, heritage and history. Audiences will find both works truly inspiring”, says Zama Buthelezi.


To make block bookings, please contact Anthony Ezeoke 011 832 1641ext 203/

083 246 4950, Magret Charova 011 832 1641 ext 326/ 079 656 2340 and Jabulisile Mofolo 011 832 1641 ext 204/ 083 203 0531


For further information, interviews and images, contact:

Lusanda Zokufa, Senior Publicist Market Theatre 011 832 1641 ext 202 or 072 367 7867 lusandaz@markettheatre.co.za

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