Wezile Mgibe, left, rehearses with Rayvan Zealand (wearing red) and Siya Mbambaza ahead of the first performance of In These Streets - Bayeza! at the PE Opera House
Image: Fredlin Adriaan

Contemporary Afro-fusion dance and art fuse in In These Streets – Bayeza! which opens at the PE Opera House on Wednesday, September 5 and will continue to Saturday, September 8.

The new work of multi-faceted KwaMagxaki artist Wezile Mgibe will incorporate performing and visual art, with NomaXabiso Rala, Shauney Loggenberg, Ntlahla Nyiki, Rayvan Zealand and Siya Mbambaza in his cast.

Bayeza! is the second in Mgibe’s In These Streets series and it looks at the politics of displacement and the plight of refugees in SA.

“The work is exploring the dynamics of return and reintegration of refugees in Africa – to be specific in East Africa – and xenophobia and tribalism which is constantly finding its ground in Southern Africa,” said Mgibe, 28.

“Africa has witnessed prolonged and repetitive forms of displacement for many, many years.

“In South Africa, as a diverse country, we find ourselves building an identity with mixed race and tribes.

“The performance aims to study precisely these dynamics of return, and also questions our true identities.”

Thanks to funding from the Visual Arts Network’s OpenLab interdisciplinary residency that offers artists an opportunity to create work in the public realm, he created and presented the first In These Streets in Port Elizabeth last year.

Mgibe also questions “the dynamics of site, culture and place by exploring collaborative working models, engaging in community work and critical thinking”.

Trained in various dance disciplines, particularly contemporary and African jazz, he also has a musical theatre background.

“My work introduces performing art from unusual angles and in mobile spaces, using audio, visuals and movements.

“I am working on empowering other young people through introducing them to the importance of performing art in public spaces.

“My future goals include being a hand to those who cannot help themselves, to give life to untold stories and celebrating African cultures in the face of negative perceptions in the wider world.”

Mgibe lives between his home town of Port Elizabeth and Cape Town.

  • The Opera House Dance Season of In These Streets – Bayeza! is from September 5-8 at the Barn Theatre. Further information from 041-586-2256.
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