Iyazika ... it's sinking, is an exploration of intergenerational memory, trauma and loss based on individual and collective wounds. It is an attempt to focus on those left behind when the men on the SS Mendi departed South Africa on the 21st February 1917 to fight in the Great War. It is a story of the sinking of the SS Mendi, a commemoration of the men that disappeared in those icy cold waters on their way to fight the Germans. It is an attempt to tell the story of their loved ones, those who were left behind and who had to deal with loss and trauma. Created and performed by a cast of multi-talented graduating students from UCT Drama department, this hybrid aesthetic production is an effort to collect the disjointed pieces of the factual record and to creatively use our imaginations and dreams to nurture the gaps in that record in an attempt to make sense of the inaccuracies. This is the theatre of monuments, of museums, of archives, wounds and healing. Through songs, physical metaphors, sound, dance and seemingly inconsistent heightened texts, the performers find their own storytelling journey.
Today when we speak of Mendi, we speak of those men, we speak of those women, we speak of us now for we have become a continuation of that trauma and we have become Mendi. We are sinking! Siyazika....Iyazika sijongile!
Created by the cast under the direction of Mandla Mbothwe, with choreography by Owen Manamela-Mogane, singing directed by Nolufefè Mtshabe, dramaturgy by Warona Seane, set by Nicolas Meyer, costume by Leigh Bishop, film visuals by Sanjin Muftic and photography by Rob Keith.
Featuring Lulamile Bongo Nikani' Ndabamnye no SS Mendi, and Kola Bola on trumpet.
This production is UCT Drama department's centennial commemoration of the sinking of the SS Mendi.