Kwathi ke Kaloku (Once Upon a Time)


Kwathi ke Kaloku  – Once Upon a Time, is a 60 minute interactive stage production of traditional Xhosa storytelling and music for primary school children by award-winning author and storyteller, Sindiwe Magona, and acclaimed traditional South African musician, Bongani Sotshononda and his United Nations of Africa band.

In September 2017 the production travelled to four key points in the Western Cape – Masikhanye Hall in Gugulethu, Guga S’thebe in Langa,  Zolani Centre in Nyanga as part of the Cape Town Fringe Festival and Zwelihle Primary School in Hermanus where they performed for Sparklekids, a Learnership Programme in which Magona regularly presents life skills to children from the area.

The production is a theatrical celebration of traditional Xhosa stories and music and its purpose is to create healthy entertainment for children who do not enjoy an abundance of educational programmes or creative resources in their communities. It will entertain and educate children in their mother tongue through the power of the imagination and in turn preserve and document the rich Xhosa tradition of storytelling as well as the wealth of indigenous Xhosa songs.

Directed by Thokozile Sayedwa with dramaturgist Mandla Mbothwe, the cast includes two actors Sivuyile Dunjwa and Awethu Hleli.

“While all stories enrich, mother tongue stories do a whole lot more; they anchor the child into the specific realm of the inherent self-inalienable and perpetual. Just as no child in the world should ever be denied the citizenship of the country of her birth, no child should ever be denied or deprived of the privilege of mother tongue. It is a birth right, sacred. To de-tongue a child, even by neglect or oversight, should be considered a criminal act,”

explains Magona.

“The child who reads or hears stories in her mother tongue is much more likely to meet herself in books; see, hear and learn from characters who remind her of herself, people like her, situation and problems familiar to hers. Even those that may present the unfamiliar will have a ring of ‘new’ but within her world,”

concludes Magona.

The CTMA aim to make this an annual production (new material will be adapted & developed each year) which will travel to deserving schools in the Western Cape and its rural outskirts. The artist also aims to record an audio version of the production in CD format which will be donated to schools and an educational aid.