Thursday, June 20, 2013



Ihobe The Freedom Song has been performed in the Workshop Theatre in
Bloemfontein from 11-13 June (2013) as part of the Youth Festival of the
Performing Arts Centre of Free State.

At first watch, this performance space at the Workshop Theatre is more
like a school ground than an art house; but once inside the
audience were transformed to the political land of Ihobe The Freedom

It was a stunning performance and actors had the audience eating out
of their palms for more. On his own part, Fikile Qithi who is the central figure
of the play delivered an address after the show. He told the enraptured
audience that Ihobe The Freedom Song was not a fiction but a real

He paid tribute to Thembekile High School students. Also, he mentioned
the role of Sehunelo High School, Leroko High School, St Bernard High School, and he also praised the father of black consciousness Steve Biko.

The beautiful set designed to project the past in the present. Ihobe
The Freedom Song was inspired by events of Soweto 16 June 1976 and
effects nationally, but more particularly at Ihobe Secondary School on
20 August 1976 in Mangaung.

The scintillating set,showcases a wonderful ensemble of actors’ plays. At the
play's start, there is a lot of people on the stage. The move on the
stage is followed by an old woman (Bayo Jwayi) and Old man (Mothibi
Mefane) and they discuss the 16 June of 2013.

The students,[Mlungisi Tshobeka, Mohale Kuili, Mpho Hlanyane, Morena
Berries and Keitumetse Poonyane] burst onto the stage with a
revolutionary song. Also, in their school uniforms they make political
speeches and plot to disrupt and burn the school in protest of
Afrikaans and anti-independence of Transkei [ a former homeland] now
part of the Eastern Cape Province.

The masterpiece is when a certain Prinsloo, a special branch [Freddy
Johnson, veteran actor) interrogates a students after the 20 August
1976. Actor Mziwandile Ndamoyi complements the special branch role in
this scene.

Prinsloo is looking for promotion in the police and he can achieve
his aims if he stops the spreading of the Black Consciousness Movement
from Soweto to Mangaung. Morena Berries, a spy in the ranks of the student brings his role to
life in the act…

Raselebeli Khotseng, a well known poet said after watching the play: "When the policemen from the special branch in play tortured the students I wanted to cry. In real life, apartheid police tortured me many
times in those days. The play indeed reminds us of the hard times. Young people must
watch this play again to understand how hard was the struggle."

Diketseng Mnisi, an actor for Rhythm City soapie and  cast member of
Madonna of Excelsior made the following comment after she watched the
play: "I like the spy in the act. The play needs little improvement so
that it could reach its potential though. It is the real township style."

Interestingly, in his book, Writing Black, the late distinguished writer, Richard Rive, wrote the following about Soweto 76: "We read about it in the Cape Town newspapers and heard about it on the news media. We identified strongly with the Transvaal Blacks but Soweto was very far away.

"Admittedly it was not quite as far as Alabama and Vietnam but it was nevertheless a thousand miles too far away. Then two months later in August the Black township round Cape Town exploded. There was trouble initially at the University of the Western Cape and at the three local training colleges and then the unrest spread to the "Coloured" high schools and the townships."

The argument of the play [Ihobe The Freedom Song] is to highlight the contributions of Mangaung and Ihobe Secondary School students to the event of 20 August 1976 in solidarity with the students of Soweto on 16 June 1976.

Fikile Qithi, then an Ihobe Secondary School student was sentenced to five years imprisonment term on Robben Island for sabotage in connection with the epic events on 29 September 1976.

The play, Ihobe The Freedom Song has been praised on radio and other media outlets.

PIC ABOVE: Fikile Qithi

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