Sunday, October 2, 2022

Ntirelang Berman brings music to life in Tswana inspired play

‘Kgolo’, a South African musical play that pays diligent attention to the darkest taboos, theories, faith and conviction of Batswana from various tribes, is making its stage debut on September 15th. The Tswana inspired play was birthed on the backdrop of little documented information about the life and culture of Batswana pre independence.

Behind this music production and choreography of the play is local prolific folk singer and instrumentalist Ntirelang Berman, who says the music and dance routines he conjures explores authentic sounds and movements common in Setswana culture: “I was privileged to have been invited to be part of this production. The music sets the ambiance for this theatrical play and draws from Setswana folk and traditional tones and culture of Batswana in a settlement. It is honest music with meaningful lyrics.” 

According to writer and director Martin Koboekae, “This play is set in 1940 in an make-believe rural village and is scripted primarily in Setswana with bits and pieces of English. Kgolo manages to encapsulate the rich and dramatic nuances of Batswana and their mystical beliefs. Setswana music and traditional dance are central to the unfolding of the story and enhance the quality and pacing of the story.”

He also said the story revolves around Oganne, a rebellious young man who is endowed with mystic powers but who relentlessly refuses to surrender to the call to lead his clan to glory and prosperity. 

Having rehearsed extensively for the past month, Koboekae explains that the cast members embody the story they are trying to portray. “Kgolo is an honest but light-hearted drama presented in the mold of satire. It presents what many find to be regressive convictions and beliefs in a different light that engages and prompts the crowd to question their perceptions about tradition and belief. Kgolo also interplays between humour and tragedy. It’s something everyone should look forward to seeing.”

Kgolo features amongst others Peter Mashigo, renowed South African actor Seputla Sebogodi, Madge Kola, Ontiretse Manyetsa and Gaolatlhe Mathenyane. The play was conceived by Karabo Kgokong and Martin Koboekae and will be showcasing from the 15th to 17th of September at Christiana and the 20th to 24th September at Mmabana in Mahikeng.


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