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PRESS: DJELI to Shed Light on the Meaning of Life at Cape Town's TheatreArts

Franka Kirby


Theatre-goers far and wide are invited to explore different worlds in a multisensorial two-hander play, DJELI, to uncover history, memory and identity, at TheatreArts in Observatory, from 20 February to 23 February 2024. 

DJELI metaphorizes the absence of light and forms part of 11 productions at TheatreArts’ exciting new off-the-grid season of shows, Theatre in the Dark. These works aim to give artists and audiences alternative means to enjoy theatre and in turn highlights the crisis that is load-shedding and the effects thereof. 

The production is an exploration of the complexity of remembering and re-membering a fragmented bloodline as imagined and written by chair of The Writers’ Lab, Katlego Chale. He describes a pair of ‘spiritual siblings’, who together; through a series of rituals that use fire and water to cleanse, unearth and reconfigure the past, present and future versions of their soul. The histories, culture and memories that they discover on their quest for redemption are from a fragmented lineage that they need to overcome and move forward from. Together they explore the complexities of their past, seeking to set right the terror caused by their forefathers. 

A story about family, culture, redemption and history, DJELI is visual production that incorporates elements of sound, visual imagery and creates an extended metaphor with it’s light sources, like paraffin lamps and candles. Performed by Peggy Tunyiswa, Busisiwe Maphumulo and Mthuthuzeli Zimba and stage managed by Tiffani Dlamini, we are guaranteed that storytelling is possible even without Eskom.

Director Mmatumisang Motsisi is delighted to bring this important work to the TheatreArts stage: 

“DJELI is a story about those who have secured the histories of the great people of Mali. Moreover, it is a story about lineage and legacy. It is a reminder that we have long been diviners, warriors and storytellers. It is an invitation to journey with us as we reckon with the forces that have sought to erase our stories.” 

Tour into the darkness in DJELI from 20 to 23 February at Theatre Arts in Observatory. 

For ticket bookings, please visit


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