Onnest’bo

012MW-SecondPix

Directed by Mark Fleishman and Jennie Reznek
Created with the Company
Performed by Thami Mbongo (Mbulelo Grootboom/Thndo Mthi), Jennie Reznek, Lulama Masimini (Mdu Kweyama/ Luvuyo Mbuto), Craig Leo (Stefan Blignaut), Charles Tertiens (Gary Naidoo), Amrain Ismail-Essop (Jazz Levenberg/Jacqui Du Toit), Riana Alfreds and Wiseman Sithole (For Western Cape Tour)
Set design:Justin Brett and Erik Roren
Music: Mac McKenzie, Hilton Schilder, Robbie Jansen, Boeta Kaatjie, Zolani Mahola
Researchers: Quanita Adams, Nadia Davids, Julian Jonker

In 1966, in terms of the Group Areas Act, the sixth district of Cape Town was declared a ‘white’ area and under the pretext of slum clearance, all the inhabitants were evicted. Their homes were bulldozed and the whole area was raised to the ground. For the past forty years it has remained an undeveloped wound in the heart of the city. District Six has become a symbol for the forced removals of the apartheid years but it is only one of many communities which were destroyed. Between 1913 and 1989 some 4 million South Africans were forcibly removed from their homes and their lives were turned upside down in an insane attempt to enforce segregation along racial lines

Finally, in 2002, the first land deeds were handed over to the original inhabitants of District Six. It is in this spirit of return, of reclaiming and rebuilding community that Onnest’bo is made with the invaluable assistance of the District Six Museum. Onnest’bo is an outdoor theatre event intended to be performed outside of designated theatre spaces in order to reach the maximum number of people. In these days of painfully shrinking theatre audiences we intend to reach out to where people are and to deliver to them an exciting performance event with significant production value. As in Pump, our first Outdoor Theatre project, the story is told through music,and visual images, rich in uniquely Cape Town textures and history.

Over the first half of 2003 and 2006 Onnest’bo has performed to students in high schools across the province. In addition to watching the performance each school class receives a package of information on various themes related to forced removals and teachers receive booklets of follow-up exercises for classroom use. The District Six Museum arranged inter-generational workshops at schools or in the museum during which older members of the community who have experienced removals engage directly with the students.

“What a pleasure of a performance! …Light, funny, sometimes serious… a breath of fresh air. The format is a performance of physical theatre, innovative props and great music. Mark Fleishman’s direction is exceptional and the performances…. Uutstanding.”
Nazma Dreyer, Cape Argus Tonight

“In places it was like watching an old black and white Charlie Chaplin movie with no dialogue. The power with which physical theatre was raised to new heights in this delightfully funny and pertinent story was outstanding.”
Rafiek Mammom, Cape Times

““Fisieke teater skud wakker… uiteindelik ontplof die stuk soos veelkluerige guy Fawkes nag.”
Nikodemis van Rensburg, Die Burger

(Magnet Theatre) Amphitheatre SA Museum; Western Cape Schools; UCT Hiddingh Hall Campus; Main Festival, National Festival of the Arts, Grahamstown; National Schools Festival, Grahamstown; Homecoming Centre, District Six Museum; Okiep, Nababiep, Steinkopf, Northern Cape; Leu Tempo Festival, La Reunion