Theatre hosts Isandlwana lecture

Ntombi Mashaba

The second edition of the Isandlwana Battle Musical Lecture returns to Joburg Theatre on 24 – 26 January.

  Founder of Value of Culture, musician, historian and heritage enthusiast Mbuso Khoza will be accompanied by the Afrikan Heritage Ensemble; a 16-member Acapella group which Khoza formed some four years ago, as they present the happenings of 22 January 1879 using the language of the music.

  The Isandlwana Lecture sees Khoza presenting a gripping picture of the pressures that drove both sides to a bloody confrontation, and a definitive history of the battle that has shaped the political sphere of the entire African population. Those who follow the history of South Africa will know about this historic defeat inflicted on the British Army during the Victorian age.

  The Anglo-Zulu war had been an unequal struggle between an industrialised nation with the best weapons; and people fighting for their country with little more than raw courage.

  Even though the particular battle was won by the Zulu warriors, the subsequent revenge killings by the British would prove the most paralyzing for the Zulu and the rest of the black people of southern Africa.

  The defeated lost the lives of thousands, their indigenous political institutions, the centres of their political administration, many ordinary homes and thousands of head of cattle, and also their independence and the very fabric of their way of life. Nothing for the Zulu would be the same again.

  Mbuso Khoza said: “Narrating such an eventful occasion can become monotonous if done the traditional way, and that is why we gave a lecture with a twist. This year we promise an even better experience where we’ll take the audiences down memory lane with Amahubo such as Khethani Amagwala, widely regarded to have been favoured by King Shaka, as well as Zulu Salwa Nempi, a victory song composed a day after the famous Isandlwana conquest.”

  The Isandlwana lecture demonstrates how Khoza weaves together the lives of Zulu patriots like Ntshingwayo ka Mahole and Mehlokazulu ka Sihayo and British soldiers such as Anthony Durnford and Charlie Harford, the men who were at the heart of the war by examining the songs, Amahubo, composed during that age.

  The production uses mainly song and narrative, and goes to cover music that has evolved from Amahubo and influenced numerous genres now grouped as “traditional music”.

  These include music known as Umvalelo, Umbholoho and others that have since been adopted by young people all over South Africa.

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