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Napo Masheane emotional at HerStory International Theatre Festival launch

04 August 2022 - 08:00
Napo Masheane asked the audience on the opening night to remind her that "many are called but few are chosen".
Napo Masheane asked the audience on the opening night to remind her that "many are called but few are chosen".
Image: supplied

Herstory International Festival kicked off with a loud bang on Tuesday night at Soweto Theatre.

TshisaLIVE was transported on a journey by multi award-winning playwright and activist Napo Masheane's brainchild that is bringing creatives from all walks of life. 

The festival provides a huge platform for women theatre practitioners from Africa, Canada, the UK, US, Brazil, Sweden and the Caribbean.

It was an emotionally-charged evening with a yearning for the stories of some women to not be erased and for the others to be told loud enough. A labour of love and expression that has been missing from theatres since Covid-19 wreaked havoc in the world.  

We saw performances from thespian Didi Mokobane who gave an ensemble of Elelloang. Another performance was Inwele with musician Buhlebendalo Mda.

Napo was visibly emotional and overwhelmed by the loud cheers that filled the room when she went on stage.

“I come from a family of amazing women, they are loud, they are present, they are the best singers, best cooks, best gossipers. But they can tell you who's a witch, who took whose husband but also they are prayer warriors. They don't apologise for taking up space. They taught me that you don't apologise for your loudness but, more than anything, that it's within history that her story should always rise,” said Napo.

Elelloang, The Mix Race Mix Tape, Too Much Woman, Inwele, The Road, Poetry from Yamoria, Lady G, Moremi, I eat what I like, IBOKWE, HerStory Band, The Fat Black Women Sing, Abafazi Bengoma, and many others are set to grace the stages of Herstory International Theatre Festival. 

“Theatre is our church, this is where we pray, this is where we laugh, this is where we cry but more than anything this is where we mirror our communities. So with this amazing festival, it was during the week when I had a breakdown and my team sent me home, Tebza who is the musical director said it's no longer about you, it's a movement, it's about all of us.” 

Napo revealed that a friend reminded her of her creativity when she was going through mental challenges and anxiety and took the audiences through her state of mind when she had a nervous breakdown and the support system that held her together in those moments. 

“It was Ntate Mpho Molepo and his wife Rose when I was scared to be by myself they opened their home and they fed me and always they'll make sure when we are riding that all doors are locked so that I don't jump off.” 

Herstory Festival started on August 1 and will end on August 7.

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