XOVA, ‘Ukuxova’, a Xhosa word meaning to prepare dough for home-baked bread, is a metaphor for the process of raising a child, which is exposed in the narrative. The endured hardships of solo parenthood and father absenteeism is brought to stage for examination. Set on a dry and dusty village on the outskirts of Eastern Cape, Xova follows a young woman in a heavily disadvantaged family bringing a healthy child to life and having to raise it without the father. Her husband abandoned the family after being retrenched from his job and he has no idea of himself being a father. His wife, only in her early 20s, is left to be a sole breadwinner for her family and newborn. The performance art is articulated with a text of Xhosa mixed with English, the body language and emotions carry the story in movement. “The story is told through song and movement, with a blend of a visual 3D feel, enhanced by elements of symbolism and minimalism.
The play focuses on issues such as single mothers who struggle to put bread on the table within homes with absent fathers. The story is about a woman who brings a healthy child to life; her husband gets retrenched and loses his job, who then decides to abandon his family because he doesn’t want anything to do with the child or the idea of being a father. The Play is written and directed by Naledi award nominee director, Joseph Komani who recently adapted the story of Solomon. T. Plaatje into a musical from the International award-winning translation book by Professor Daniel Matjila (Unisa) and Karen Haire (New York) earlier this year at the University of South Africa. Xova is a play three years in running, designed as a performance art piece in an art Gallery in 2016 as a two-hander, now it has incorporated vocalists and a talented ensemble of a cast.
Its season at the State Theatre comes after a victorious win at the National Arts Festival, as the play walked away with a Sheer Excellence Standard Bank Ovation Gold Award and the Standard Bank Creative Excellence Ovation Award.
Be sure to catch Xova at the State Theatre from 13 – 29 September 2019. You don’t want to mis this!