Text: Siyabonga Sithole
Photograph: Supplied

We all have been hurt, betrayed and humiliated by those we thought love us. We have suffered heartache, felt a sense of loss and went as far as burying ourselves in destructive behaviour as a result of this hurt and betrayal. Sometimes we let these feelings consume us so deep that we lose sight of what we can further experience, when we make ourselves vulnerable once again. It is in allowing ourselves to be vulnerable once again, that the mark that prevents us from moving on can be fully healed. Otherwise we may not be able to move on and fall in love again. A wife cheats on her loving husband, Thabo with his best friend, Jeff. Hurt and betrayed by it all, Thabo goes on to lead a promiscuous life of womanising after finding his wife in bed with his best friend.

This is a simplified synopsis of what Ibala, an all women powered stage production directed by Busisiwe Mazibuko and stage managed by Katlego Nkogodi, both who also star alongside other emerging actors from Pretoria is about.

You might be tempted to venture: “It has all been done before”, but the brilliance of this story lies not only with dazzling performances from its cast, but also the effective use of props, the sexually charged scenes and explicit language which all come together perfectly to tell a familiar story of love, infidelity and finding oneself and the purpose of love once more.

As I found myself attending the 26th edition of Zwakala Festival, I could not help but be drawn into the fast and engaging pace of this beautifully put together piece of community driven theatre.

I also marvelled at the at the support shown to this ground-breaking community theatre festival, which over the years has given birth to some of the country’s leading theatre makers. For this one, I did not see anyone fall asleep or look uninterested and bored. Every single member of the audience was engaged and fully captured by the story line. The actors fed each other and brought their hearts and souls on the table.

While Ibala might have been the least culturally rich of all the four plays competing for Zwakala honours, the story line was as energetic as the performances themselves and there were no gaping holes between moments and the story moved with so much power and pace that by the end of the showcase, the audience just lapped up at the end product with a well-deserved and rousing standing ovation.

I was captivated and sat on the edge of my sit for the duration of the show. Something I quite did not expect from a young and somewhat inexperienced team of writers and actors. The performances were very much polished, suave, while the story itself meandered between daring, raunchy and impactful.