UFH Drama Society to showcase GBV play “Xa Bekutheni” at National Arts Festival in Makhanda

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Often when incidents of Gender-Based Violence (GBV) occur a lot of questions arise, one being: “Why did it happen?”  

This question is the inspiration behind the UFH Drama Society’s theatre play that will be showcased at the National Arts Festival (NAF) in Makhanda (Grahamstown), titled Xa Bekutheni which loosely translates to “why did it happen?”

The piece was developed following the death of Nosicelo Mtebeni, a UFH final year Law student who was brutally murdered in August last year.

The Fort Hare group will be performing at the Rehearsal Room at the Settlers Monument from the 28th of June until the 2nd of July.

Society Director, Yanga Mabetshe who is a first-year Social Science Master's student said following the death of Nosicelo the society, together with Dr Rianna Oelofsen (Founder of the UFH Gender Equity Office) felt there was an urgent need to develop a theatre play that speaks to incidents of GBV.

Xa Bekutheni seeks to inform, educate, influence and hopefully make a positive change in this GBV pandemic. It seeks to create a conversation on some of the root causes of GBV by following the lives of two people (male and female) who have experienced GBV from childhood to adolescence.”

This is the third time that the  UFH Drama Society will be performing at the NAF. In 2018 they performed a piece titled: Isandi Segubu’ (The Sound of the Drum) which explores matter related to cultural traditions, ancestral veneration and religion. In 2019, they performed a play titled: The Maxhoba Village: Lost tribe, which centres on the Maxhoba Village which considers the world beyond its boundaries to be a “lost tribe”.

The society comprises 25 first-year to Masters students who are from different fields of studies and are brought together by their passion for the arts and performing. Although there is no Drama Study at Fort Hare, the group found each other and created magic.

The cast members left for Makhanda on the 27th of June to prepare for their performances.

The National Arts Festival remains the largest annual festival of performing arts in South Africa and in Africa, attracting a large number of visitors.

Some of the performances lined up for this year include Amanda Black, SA singer and songwriter, and a theatre play titled: Bloke & His American Bantu Written by UFH alumnus, Siphiwo Mahala and directed by Sello Maake kaNcube who is a renowned South African Actor.

"We are excited and honoured to be among the artists to perform at this prestigious arts festival," said Mabetshe.