Can Themba Legacy Celebrated at the Market Theatre


ans of author and playwright Can Themba can look forward to the staging of his most famous work, The Suit, as the Market Theatre celebrates his life and talent with the Can Themba season. This year marks 50 years since Can’s passing, in January the Market Theatre staged The House of Truth an autobiographical play about his life. 

The Suit is directed by the Market Theatre’s artistic director James Ngcobo, who says the job is a dream but one that also poses sleepless nights. The award-winning director says this piece of theatre has been staged repeatedly because of its timeless message, and there is even a movie of the play starring the Kani dynasty John and Atandwa Kani. Bringing a new touch to the show will prove challenging, but challenges are what Ngcobo adores.

The Suit is the most famous short story by Can Themba, the Drum magazine writer and apartheid rebel who died in Swaziland – 1968. It’s set against the backdrop of forced removals in the 1950s under the Group Areas Act, and tells the story of Philemon, who discovers his wife Matilda in bed with a lover. The man flees, leaving his suit behind.

In the short story Themba created the suit to be a character and to serve as a physical reminder of the dead romance. This bleak story of a woman’s infidelity and her husband’s devilish revenge will capture audiences and resonate in their own lives or reflect their own community. The show promises to be an emotional roller-coaster as it leads the audience through a dark tragi-comedy.

The Suit was first performed by Sello Maake Ka Ncube, Stella Khumalo, Job Kubatsi and Alistair Dube. Once again it will have an all-star cast for this revival, carefully selected to deliver this timeless story to entertain and provoke a new audience today.

The spirit of Can Themba is being revived at the Market Theatre with the staging of The House of Truth, Sophiatown and The Suit, three productions that rekindle the life and times of this legendary author who embodied the spirit of Sophiatown.


Adapted by
Directed by
Set Design
Costume Design
Stage Manager

Show times

Can Themba
Mothobi Mutloatse and Barney Simon
James Ngcobo
Richard Forbes
Sue Steel
Luyanda Sidiya
Bongani Motsepe

05 – 28 May 2017
Mannie Manim @The Market Theatre
Tuesdays to Saturdays @ 20h15 and Sunday @15h15


Siyabonga Twala
Zola Nombona
Lindani Nkosi
Molefi Monaise
Andile Nobulane
Lesedi Motladi


Student Price
Tuesday – Thursday
Friday – Saturday


To make block bookings, please contact Anthony Ezeoke
011 832 1641 ext 203.

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