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Award-winning play coming home

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“Phokwane Chronicles critically examines one of these histories in the hope of creating a platform for human-centred dialogue around these issues”

PHOKWANE Chronicles, a theatre production of the Galeshewe Theatre Organisation (GATO), written and directed by South African film and television veteran Moagi Modise, will open at the Northern Cape Theatre in Kimberley on November 15, 2019.

In 1897, Kgosi Galeshewe and 14 other baTlhaping stood trial as the ring-leaders of the so-called “Phokwane Rebellion”, a series of events linked to the region of Phokwane in today’s Northern Cape Province and which would later lead to one of the most significant colonial military campaigns of the Nineteenth Century, the “Langeberg Rebellion” from 1896 to 1897.

Charged with murder and sedition by the British Empire, Kgosi Galeshewe pleaded guilty, a plea which was to shock the South African public while continuing the global interest in the politics of the region and in southern Africa.

Galeshewe’s guilty plea had a purpose – how better to raise the baTlhaping tribe’s objections and resistance to the unjust conceptualisations, policies and practices imposed and meted out by the colonisers with regards to land, trade, dignity and personhood.

Through the retelling of the 1897 trial, Phokwane Chronicles raises insight into the complex historical, spiritual and psychological narratives South Africans have with regards to land and the intricate journeys that need to be undertaken in order to galvanise common values towards the land reform process in the country today.

“Land is central to South Africa’s development, but the current debates around land forego the deeper meanings different communities place on land, and the various associated histories which both separate us and which also bind us together.

“Phokwane Chronicles critically examines one of these histories in the hope of creating a platform for human-centred dialogue around these issues,” Modise points out.

A pilot version of Phokwane Chronicles was launched at the National Arts Festival in Makhanda in July 2018, winning a Standard Bank Special Merit Ovation Award for Excellence.

Following its re-launching at the Northern Cape Theatre in November 2019, GATO intends on staging the show nationally and internationally.

The show will run until November 26 and tickets can be purchased at Computicket or at the theatre for R60.