Tuesday, February 28, 2012


Saint George Vis was named Free State Author of the year back in 2003. The press celebrated his feat then, as can be seen above...

Wednesday, February 1, 2012


Book: Tebogo and the Bacchae (2012)
Author: Omoseye Bolaji
Publisher: Eselby Jnr Publications
Reviewer: Mpikeleni Duma (for Sowetan)

Black African authors who churn out Mystery/Detective adventures (books) are thin on the ground. Against this background the Free State based author Omoseye Bolaji has to be praised for his fecund output in his wise.

Cedric Robinson has written that a novel is a parable. It is a moral, philosophic, and political exercise. Like the myth in phatic groups, the purpose is to demonstrate the terrible consequence to the human spirit as well as to the social organisation of a total exorcising of a social ideology.

Bolaji created the now famous detective or sleuth Tebogo Mokoena and before the beginning of this year he had published seven books in the series. Early this year the eighth of the series, Tebogo and the Bacchae (2012) was published to the excitement of readers of the series.

In this new work the author creates the fictional town of “Khayachow” where Tebogo has to investigate the events of an ill-starred night when three people lost their lives in gruesome fashion. As Tebogo burrows into life in the small town he discovers that things are not necessarily what they seem to be on the surface.

In Tebogo and the Bacchae the reader is introduced to a gallery of intriguing characters, including the enigmatic Tiisetso, the ubane Sibusiso, the shadowy Allan and of course the tantalising lady, Thobeka. The story reaches a climax later on and ends in a shattering manner – like previous adventures in this series.

The author also largely changes his style of narration in this new adventure. Hitherto, teh adventures were written in the first person – “Tebogo” himself telling the stories; but this time around the Omniscient narration style is utilised with Tebogo sometimes playing very much a secondary role in some of the chapeters.

Becasue of this Omniscient style of narration we get to know many of the characters very well, even sharing their thoughts; irreverent and zany thoughts every now and then. But all combine to emphasise the ambience of mystery that surrounds this new adventure.

I enjoyed reading this adventure very much but felt that the author could have done more to paint an even stronger picture of Khayachow town. Also, in this wise the reader can be confused sometimes as to whether the action is happening in Khayachow toropo (town) or the adjoining township.

But on the whole this is another excellent adventure of the grassroots-oriented sleuth, Tebogo Mokoena. He is still very much into bonhomie, grins and wisecracks. He even indulges in some romantic match-making in the end!

The preceding adventures of in the Tebo Mystery series are Tebogo Investigates (2000), Tebogo’s spot of other (2001), Tebogo Fails (2003), Ask Tebogo (2004), Tebogo and the Haka (2006), Tebogo and the epithalamion (2009) and Tebogo and the pantophagist (2010)
* Originally published in SOWETAN, Monday, January 30 edition



This summer’s season of the Sand Du Plessis Theatre performances has just kicked off with four-day run of “Unbreakable Thread-Ubuntu vs Fear”.

This contemporary musical drama was directed by renowned theatre director Regina Nawa and written by Mothusi Mokoto and stars numerous accomplished theatre actors and television actors whose faces will be familiar to patrons who follow the theatre scene and are able to catch a glimpse of television every now and then.

The play is set at the Mthunywa household in Rocklands Bloemfontein, on the morning of January 08, 2012 and the family preparing to host Morena, friends, comrades and a few community members for a short ceremony. To prepare for the important day, Mkhulu Mthunywa, together with Morena, a Sangoma and a priest go to the heroes’ section of the cemetery to pay tribute to the fathers and mothers of our liberation struggle in a traditional ritual.

Upon their return from the cemetery, they arrive in the midst of diverse cultural dance festivities, from guests. In a short sermon, prior to the main festivities at the stadium, Moruti takes us through the journey of the formation of the ANC as a covenant made between the organisation and God on January 08, 1912.

As the elders later leave for the main festivities at the stadium, a conflict arises between Mkhulu and his granddaughter, Phetogo. The granddaughter is expressing frustration at the many unanswered questions she has been asking Mkhulu about the death of her parents in the struggle. She had been hoping that since Mkhulu had been writing a book on the liberation struggle, it might be the perfect place to find answers.

The main characters were played by Danny Jassoni, 34, as Mkhulu and Excellentia Rethabile Mokoena, 22, as Phetogo. Jassoni has acted in theatre productions such as Mid Summer Nights Dream, Julius Caesar and Maru; and also acted in television shows such as Molo-Fish and Ga Re Dumele on SABC 2.

“I thought the show went well. I believe people got the message. The message of Ubuntu which is what we should strive for in our everyday life. Let’s not forget who we are as the youth, as a people. In as much as there are differences now, there is still a lot to be done to rectify the wrongs of the past”, Jassoni said.
Mokoena has appeared in productions such as Op Soek Na Piet Khumalo and Mpumelelo.
“I’ve learnt a lot through playing this character. It hurts to find that people had to go through this for me to be here today. Youth need to be educated about our history”, Mokoena said.

Although poorly attended, the show ironically was a magnificent piece of theatre. The dancers executed a series of synchronous movements which brought euphoria into the Sand Du Plessies theatre as patron’s screamed at the sight of the dancers.
There is a dance scene which stands out as a masterpiece of choreography by Brian Mazibuko, the MK military training scene. “That is my favourite scene. We used Russian techniques with our choreography to do the scene”, Mazibuko said.
However, the amplication of the background music sometimes made it hard to hear what some actors were saying.

Stand out actors included Free State born actor and singer, Pesa Pheko, who has acted in big productions such as the Lion King and Sarafina, Sbongiseni (Khehla) Mguni, Katlego Khunou, Brian Mazibuko, who was also the choreographer, Abram Dithebe (Small) and the pint-sized 19-year-old singer from Welkom, Dikeledi Letebele.
Unbreakable Thread is an African National Congress (ANC) Centenary celebrations production that uses drama, music, reflection of historical experiences through movement and dance to showcase the values of Ubuntu.

The musical drama will showcase at the Sand Du Plessis Theatre until January 28, and every person, young and old will benefit immensely from attending the show piece.