Man enough for this year's festival crowd

ONE of Xhosa culture's most sacred rites of passage forms the theme of a Nelson Mandela Bay production which is set to premiere at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown in July.

Andiyondoda (Not Man Enough), written by Simphiwe Vikalahla, 35, and directed by Mojalefa Koyana, 26, is about ulwaluko (circumcision).

"The play is about a guy [Thamsanqa] played by Koyana, who is eager to be a man but he faces challenges while he is at the mountain.

"Ulwaluko is a sacred practise of the amaXhosa," Vikalahla said.

"Recently this practise has seen large numbers of young men dying or getting mutilated in the bush.

"Thamsanqa refuses to come back from the bush, where he lost his manhood, with this causing a frenzy among his family and loved ones."

Vikalahla said they realised the play would probably draw some attention.

"We feel that all parties involved in taking a child to the mountain should work together in making sure that the child comes back home safe," he said.

"There are issues with these check-ups that need to be done that sometimes are not done, and many rules that have to be followed when they are at the mountain and they simply aren't."

Vikalahla has won several awards, with his production The Ghost House receiving five nominations at the Zabalaza festival in Cape Town in 2012.

Another one of his productions, Sleeping Dogs, was sold out at the National Arts Festival last year. - Yoliswa Sobuwa