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Blacksmith Forges a Communion of African Stories and Consciousness

The Market Theatre Foundation in collaboration with Arts Alive International Festival 2023,Arts, Culture and Heritage Presents The 2022 Zwakala Festival Winner production Blacksmith as part of the Arts Alive International Arts Festival programme which seeks to feature an array of creative offering to activate the artistic landscape.

The 2022 Zwakala Festival winners, Thabo Ramaine and Lonwabo Bhele, bring their thought-shifting production of Blacksmith to The Market Theatre, in perfect synchrony with the spirit of Heritage Month. This theatrical experience combines mask work with the mesmerizing harmonies of a live musician, weaving the threads of ancestral resonance and awakening the legacy of our heritage.

Writer and actor, Thabo Ramaine, offers a profound insight into the essence of the play: “The name ‘Blacksmith’ is a historical concept from the original meaning that describes the one who crafts weapons and sharpens metal with fire. The title of the play is the metaphor that describes the one who sharpens the mind and creates weapons of consciousness. The communion between fire and metal becomes the key significance of the communion between African stories and the minds that conceive them.”

Under the direction of Lonwabo Bhele and rooted in the urgent need to address mental slavery among Africans, Blacksmith employs inventive mask work and a live musician to bring its powerful narrative to life. When the lights come up, a man of profound significance takes center stage, entrusted with the sacred duty of preserving a heritage born from the crucible of struggle, taking you on a voyage that delves into the depths of African History’s untold truths.

This production emerged through the Incubation Programme sponsored by the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture. With a firm commitment to nurturing emerging practitioners and honing their skills. The Incubation Programme places a strong emphasis on cultivating home-grown content. Blacksmith, a testament to this initiative, is set to generate excitement among audiences, offering a compelling perspective on African narratives.

This production confronts the pivotal moments that have shaped the African trajectory under the weighty yoke of colonialism and white supremacy. Brace your mind for an emotional odyssey that challenges preconceived notions, ignites introspection, and fosters a collective awakening. Through this performance, you will bear witness to the indomitable spirit that survives adversity and the unyielding resilience that forges a future rooted in empowerment and reclamation. Allow your thoughts to be provoked, your understanding to be stretched, and your perspective to be altered by this exploration of Africa’s past and its resonating echoes in the present.

“The Market Theatre Foundation takes immense pride in supporting and showcasing the most recent Zwakala Festival-winning work,” expressed Greg Homann, the Market Theatre Artistic Director. “Thabo Ramaine and Lonwabo Bhele’s production, Blacksmith, serves as a valuable reminder that acknowledging and engaging with the impact of our colonial past is vital. It sheds a piercing light, exposing the complexities and wounds that continue to shape our nation and sense of identity. The upcoming restaging of this work in Heritage Month will no doubt encourage dialogue and contribute to a path where, one day, our colonial legacy no longer haunts us.”

Blacksmith promises to be a theatrical encounter that delves deep into the struggles and triumphs of the African experience. With Lonwabo Bhele at the helm as director, supported by mentor director MoMo Matsunyane and dramaturge mentor Monageng “Vice” Motshabi, this production guarantees a transformative journey for all who experience it.

Don’t miss the opportunity to witness the fire of resilience ignite within the hearts of us, forging a renewed sense of identity and belonging.

Blacksmith is in the newly refurbished Barney Simon Theatre at The Market Theatre from 23 September to 8 October 2023. Book your tickets now to be part of this extraordinary exploration of African stories and consciousness.

Production Creative Team:

Writer & Actor:                                    Thabo Ramaine

Director:                                              Lonwabo Bhele

Mentor Director:                                  MoMo Matsunyane

Dramaturge Mentor:                           Monageng “Vice” Motshabi

Season:                                               23 September – 8 October 2023

Venue:                                                 The Mannie Manim Theatre 


Thabo Ramaine

Mpho  Ramorola

To make block bookings and discounts please contact Anthony Ezeoke 011 832 1641ext 203/ 083 246 4950

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