Mthabisi Tshuma, Showbiz Correspondent
ARTS group Sunduza Dance Theater will take to the stage at Bulawayo Theater on Thursday where they will present Injabulo, a play that is very dear to them as it was their first stage production that led to their breakthrough 35 years ago.
The renowned group will take people back in time with the production which will be staged thanks to the sponsorship of Matopos Music from the UK.
The show is scheduled to start at 2:30 p.m.
Group director Charles Banda said they would perform the piece in memory of the deceased members of the group who played a pivotal role in transforming the group to what it is today.
“Thirty-five years after the group was formed, we will see a revival of the group’s first full production, Injabulo. “
It was a song that marked the band’s launch as High Stars Sunduza Boys in 1985. It also took the band to the UK in 1992 on their first tour.
“Injabulo follows the story of a young man who grows up in his rural area and settles in South Africa to find work in the mines although he dreams of becoming a musician,” said Banda.
He added that the glory of Sunduza Dance Ensemble‘s debut work will be celebrated with new footage using modern technology from Veins Media.
“The original central star of the series had Simon Banda who was heavily supported by Elijah Mbambo, Misheck Moyo and the late Alec Ncube who ended his career playing with Black Umfolosi.
“Baphi Mdladla and Khalipani Ndlovu continue to be happy to have been with the band since the first tour in 1992.
“The young man from Injabulo is now played by promising actor Ntando Sithole with his superb tenor voice.
“He will be supported by Mkhululi Khanye as the mine captain and chief choreographer, as well as a nice cast that will delight audiences,” Banda said.
He said the timeless production which includes many traditional and modern dances is always a hit with theater audiences, especially children.
During the lockdown, Banda said they were able to tap into the virtual space. Reflecting on the arts group’s past years, Banda said, “Injabulo, as the group is now known, had a strong anti-apartheid sentiment.
“Over time, the group has evolved over time and changed in character to become a youth-friendly family business.
“The band, after their first UK tour in a year, started to include women. It has gone from purely a cappella concerts to a full musical dance theater. Unfortunately there was a long hiatus in full touring after 2002 as a huge school program was being developed in Yorkshire (UK), ”said Banda.
“The weeklong workshops led by the late Simon Banda and the late Mandla Sibanda simply created unstoppable careers by linking the arts to the UK curriculum in many imaginative ways.”
Banda led the group in reviving his father’s old songs and introducing an exciting new repertoire. Wonderful songs such as Imali, Nompilo, Sinikiwe, Istimela that wowed people from London to Singapore and all the way to Vancouver will finally be heard again in the city, Banda said.
The group has also relaunched several productions in recent years to reach an international level of competence. These include Voices from the Rocks – the story of the Matopos and the adventures of Robert Moffat. [email protected]_mthire