This story follows four young girls aged 12 to 16 years and it explores their curiosity with life in the living and life after death. They explore this in their childlike manner, through the games they play together and the stories they have been told by elders. They create a whole new world of their own where there is a strong division between Lana (the land of the living) and Ngaphesheya (the land of the dead where the cemetery lies). They are met with a new friend who emerges from the other world of Ngaphesheya, whom they accept into their everyday living of playfulness and welcoming this new member into their circle changes their lives.
In Ngaphesheya, the 6th edition of the Kwasha! Theatre Company showcases an amazing piece that draws light to the themes of death, purgatory and paranormality. They do this by telling the story in narration, song and physical chorus work. Although, the story is told in a light manner, events get darker as all the characters find themselves experiencing a whole new forbidden land that is introduced by the character of Pinkie. We witness the other three girls, Nobahle (16), Sphiwo (12) and Owethu (14) being influenced by Pinkie to explore the land of Ngaphesheya, a land that has always remained unknown to them. With young Sphiwo longing to again see her late mother and twin sister who passed during childbirth, an interest to visit the other world is evoked. Will this journey feed their curiosity or further swallow them into a world of darkness?
Growing up in a village in the Eastern Cape, many stories and superstitions surrounding death and the afterlife were passed down generations. “Never point at a grave” – or you’ll be inviting death unto your family, “Never whistle indoors” – uyahlola (you are attracting the tragedy of death), “Hold your breath when passing through or driving past a cemetery” – you might inhale an evil force or a recently departed spirit looking to take up residency in your body, to name a few.
This planted curiosity in me about what truly happens when people crossover, is there a life after death?
I have since learned that not everyone who crosses over gets the everlasting peace that is promised upon death. In Ngaphesheya, we explore and imagine what happens in the other world as we paint our own picture of what life after death may look like.
Directing a theatre production has always been a dream for me and I am grateful for the opportunity to do so beside an incredibly talented group of female performers. Taking up this role is something very special to me, it plays a part in me trusting myself and growing as a creative. It definitely is something that will forever be engraved in my journey as a young artist.
A very huge and special thank you goes out to our mentor in this process, Aus’ Momo Matsunyane, ndibamba ngazo zozibini. Thank you for seeing our story, believing in it and guiding us to tell it in the greatest way. You’re phenomenal.
I hope everyone enjoys our story as much as we did making it.
Kgomotso ‘MoMo’ Matsunyane (b. 1988) is an actor, playwright and director. She has performed in numerous plays, films and television shows and has subsequently been nominated for and won several awards including: Hlakanyana The Musical, which won a whopping 8 out of the 14 awards they were nominated for at the 2023 Naledi’s. Matsunyane won for Best Supporting Actress in a Musical for her role as Mawethu along with Best Ensemble and Best Production of a Musical; Best Actress in A Leading Role (Have You Seen
Zandile? ;Naledi Theatre Awards 2014), Best Supporting Actress (Ankobia ;SA Theatre Magazine Awards 2017), Best Ensemble (Animal Farm; Naledi Theatre Awards 2015), Best Supporting Role (Tsotsi The Musical; Fleur Du Cap Awards 2018) amongst many others.
She has also recently acted in a new sketch comedy show called ROSA directed by Kagiso Lediga scheduled to play on popular streaming network, Netflix in 2023. In the same year Matsunyane was festival director for the acclaimed Zwakala Festival and will be mentoring the winning group as the show takes to the stage in October 2023.
MoMo has been a professional actor since 2004. She obtained an Honours Degree in Dramatic Arts from Wits University in 2012, majoring in Performance as well as Film and Television. In 2022 she performed in If A Tree Falls which was also directed by acclaimed director
Janice Honeyman. In 2020, she performed in Switzerland in Converting Eviction. In 2021, MoMo was the Head Writer of a new musical produced by Madevu Entertainment and UJ
Arts Centre called Hlakanyana directed by Janice Honeyman. She was also cast in Standard Bank Young Artist Award Winner for Dance, Lulu Mlangeni’s NAF production Kganya which made its live debut at the internationally acclaimed festival Afrovibes in 2022 and it will also be playing at The State Theatre in July 2023.
Zamantimande Shongwe, a venue technician. I graduated with a BA in Drama & Theatre Studies (Technical) at the University of Stellenbosch. I specialise in stage management and lighting but am skilled in costume making, production management, continuity, video production, décor, props, sound and stage make up. I am from the East Rand, Johannesburg and am currently working at the Market theatre Laboratory.
I am the stage manager for Ngaphesheya by Kwasha the 6th.
Nontuthuko Azande Mkhungo is originally from KwaZulu-Natal, Durban. She obtained a degree in Bachelor of live Performance (stage & screen acting) at AFDA Johannesburg in 2017. She has the utmost respect & passion for the arts – in its entire form that is whether it’s on stage, screen or behind the scenes.
She is an extremely hardworking and talented theatre practitioner & screen actor. She is a musician, presenter and dancer. She is also very skilled when it comes to behind the scenes work which includes editing, logging & cinematography.
She lives by a mantra that she has created for herself which is: “I have no plan B because art is all I know”.
Ndonie Ntshiza was born and bred in Underberg, KwaZulu-Natal. She is a 23 year old qualified theater and screen actress. During her years of studying she took part in presenting classes.
Later on, she obtained a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Live Performance at the School for the Creative Economy, AFDA. Shortly after, she was selected to join Duma Ndlovu’s Actor’s Academy, a space that presented her with theater and television acting roles. Currently, she is part of the 6th edition of the Kwasha! Theatre Company.
Ndonie shows great interest in voice acting, improvisation and writing in her home language, isiZulu. She continues to work on her standard American and British accents.
Ngwedi is a Theatre and Performance graduate from The Market Theatre Laboratory with a gentle spirit. She was born and raised in Johannesburg, South Africa and is 22 years of age. She is currently under a theatre company called Kwasha The 6th. She is an observer and storyteller. She is a vessel for expression and often finds her voice rooted in the intricacies of the human experience. As a writer at heart, a large part of her work exists with a sense of poetry. She is also a mover, whose skills lie in physical theatre. Ngwedi is a body that is constantly in a state of becoming and she uses this to challenge the constructs of theatre.
Sinegugu Shantel Mdluli, is a 21 year old theatre performer and vocalist originally from Mpumalanga.
She recently graduated from Tshwane University of Technology with a diploma in Performing arts specialising in Musical Theatre. Her musical theatre practice explored tap dance, ballet, theatre dance as well as vocal training and acting. Her experience of theatre performance is mainly tertiary based with productions from Breytenbach theatre as well as The South African State Theatre such as Before and After! musical, Eviction Dance production, Sheila’s day, Mbombozone the musical amongst many others.
She is currently under the 6th Kwasha! Theatre Company at The Market Theatre Foundation in collaboration with Windybrow Arts centre.
She aspires to work on more platforms that will enhance her artistic self.