Zabalaza winner shines at Baxter

04 May 2017 | Story Kate-Lyn Moore. Photos Sithembele Junior.
Thobani Nzuza stars in the one-person drama Boy Ntulikazi, which won Best of Zabalaza 2017.
Thobani Nzuza stars in the one-person drama Boy Ntulikazi, which won Best of Zabalaza 2017.

Award-winning drama Boy Ntulikazi, on stage at the Baxter in May, examines the far-reaching implications of decisions made and their impact on future generations.

A 14-year-old girl exists in desperate poverty. Her situation worsens when she becomes pregnant and, in fear, leaves her home and her family.

Scared, hopeless and with no one to turn to, she takes her baby boy to a nearby river and places him on a rock on the river bank. She hopes that the strong winds of July will push the baby into the water.

But the child survives and grows into a young man struggling with his identity and who longs to know the truth about the woman who gave birth to him.

Boy Ntulikazi is a stirring drama that examines the myriad consequences of our decisions as they reach between generations and continue cycles of pain and poverty. This is a theme not uncommon in South African society.

The mistakes of his parents form a pivotal part of this young man's journey to find his biological mother. As such, this poignant story examines the value of ubuntu and the necessity of caring for future generations.

The piece was written in KwaZulu-Natal by Kagiso Tsimakwane and Thobani Nzuza, who also stars in the production.

Zabalaza winner shines at Baxter
Nhlanhla Zondi accompanies actor Thobani Nzuza with live music in Boy Ntulikazi.

Boy Ntulikazi won the Best of Zabalaza 2017 award, and as such, receives a short run at the Baxter and the opportunity to be presented to a larger audience.

“I am really very happy that my work will be seen by a new and different audience. My main aim of coming to the Zabalaza Theatre Festival was to share my story and to learn from others, not expecting to win two awards,” said Nzuza, who was also named Best Actor at Zabalaza.

The 24-year-old started his career as a dancer, singer and actor at the Buhle Bo uMlazi Community Arts Centre. He will graduate with his National Diploma in Drama and Production Studies from the Durban University of Technology during the run of Boy Ntulikazi at the Baxter.

While the show was originally directed by Tsimakwane, Nzuza has recently directed himself in the production.

His finely-crafted physical performance is enhanced by the live music written and performed by Nhlanhla Zondi.

Boy Ntulikazi runs from 4–13 May, with nightly performances at 20:00 and Saturday matinees on 6 and 13 May at 14:30.

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