TSOGO TO RESURRECT MAMA CHARLOTTE MANNYA-MAXEKE!
From 14 to 31 October 2021, The South African State Theatre (SAST) will be presenting TSOGO (The Rise of Charlotte Mannya-Maxeke), a new biographical theatre play exploring the life and times of the iconic social and political activist Mama Charlotte Makgomo Mannya-Maxeke (1871 –1939), who would have turned 150 in April years this year. The season of the play will coincide with her date of death 16 October 1939.
Written by multiple award-winning playwright Napo Masheane, and directed by thespian Mapula Setlhako, TSOGO (The Rise of Charlotte Mannya-Maxeke) is a resurrection of one of South Africa’s Pan African, black conscious, and feminist pioneers. The story will draw on ‘Re-Birthing- Re-Imagining, and Reflecting on Maxeke’s her-story, which will be echoed through seven female voices on stage. The ensemble represents seven portraits of Maxeke, focusing on seven prominent milestones of her life, almost symbolizing the seven decades of her tapestry, against not just tradition and religion, but also patriarchy and politics.
Through choral and Afrocentric melodies, TSOGO also suggests Maxeke’s imaginative childhood, her coming of age, her undying resistance and resilience, her bravery to travel the world as an artist (chorister) in the persuasion of a dream to empower the black child.
“Not many know about her as a creative during her life and activism in the 18th century. We need to set up unity of sisterhood in the arts fraternity, which will help raise the next generation of female artists to the next level. We need structures which will help shatter the ceilings of patriarchy and gender inequality in the arts,” says Setlhako.