By: Ayabonga Ngoma

Two weeks back, I attended the media opening night of the superb play Nongogo directed by Market Theatre’s new artistic director, James Ngcobo. I used the word superb, so you can basically sum up that it was an amazing piece of work, brought to life by an excellent cast. The play started out at the Joburg Arts Alive festival in September and now is at the Market Theatre for a limited run before jetting off on an international tour.

The evening started out with welcome drinks and an outdoor braai for all the invited guests. It was a nice change from the regular wine and tapas vibe these sorts of things usually do. Definitely fit the setting of the play, which is set in a township shebeen in the 50s.

The stellar cast I mentioned earlier include theatre and tv greats; Masasa Mbangeni as the main character Queenie, Fana Mokoena, Tony Kgoroge, Desmond Dube and the show stealer Hamilton Dlamini as the sweet, belligerent drunk Patrick. Nongogo tells the story of shebeen owner, Queenie and her romance with a passing by tablecloth salesman. The core story of the love affair is intensified by the supporting cast who weave into it chaos, jealousy and secrets. It is insanely well acted and written and is sure to be a success in the international theatre. A big two thumbs up!

The play is showcasing at the Laager Theatre at Market Theatre, and is open until this Sunday. Go to for this week’s times and bookings. Use #Nongogo on social media to show them some love.

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