A Soshanguve-based community theatre group is working to highlight greed, corruption, gender-based violence (GBV) and femicide that is prevalent in their community through their award-winning drama production titled, The Iron, which is enjoying a four-week season at the South African State Theatre till 2 October after opening on Friday, 10 September.
The production was awarded a Best Script With Potential accolade by the SAST’s Mayibuye Community Outreach (MCO) when the group participated in the development programme in 2018 and 2019.
Written by Emmanuel Mashigo and directed by Sphiwe Malusi Geldenhuys, who are stern community theatre makers, The Iron follows a series of circumstances that unfold when a blacksmith is entrusted with the responsibility to fix a pure gold antique steam iron.
The spellbinding drama sets all eyes on the iron as chaos erupts with greed, corruption, lust, GBV and murder. Applying cinematic and symbolic visual effects, the production uses the antique steam iron as a symbol to showcase malignance and animosity in society. For many years, Emmanuel and Sphiwe have been using their craft to influence social change in communities. While Sphiwe is currently doing dramatic development in schools, correctional centres and community theatre fieldwork,
Emmanuel has showcased work in the Department of Social Development’s programmes that raise awareness on social and health issues, including GBV and HIV/Aids that affect communities. “Telling stories of where we come from encourages and inspires artists not to stop believing in telling stories that address social issues. This makes people to relate to true events that we are facing on a daily basis,” says Emmanuel.
“We are raising awareness about GBV, corruption and greed ekasi. We are fighting against this through storytelling.”
With the full season at the SAST after exiting the MCO, the group and their production follow on the footsteps of other northern Pretoria townships’ graduates of the programme, who are today accomplished artists in mainstream theatre.
These artists include Winterveldt’s multi-award-winning writer and director Sello Maseko and Soshanguve’s choreographer Mdu Nhlapo who is the SAST’s new Associate Artistic Director.
“The State Theatre has developed our production and created exposure for artists by giving us a platform to perform and also created employment for artists in Soshanguve.
“We have been equipped with skills like script-writing, acting, directing and production management by professional and experienced artists who trained us in the Mayibuye programme,” Emmanuel adds.
Facilitated by the Education Youth Children’s Theatre department, the MCO programme is a field project by SAST aimed at unearthing talent in the community theatre space and shine the spotlight on those who keep the fires burning in conditions where theatre is unimaginable to take place.
The two-year development programme encompasses artistic workshopping in directing, choreography, stage management, script-writing and development, business and arts administration, plus masterclasses from industry experts.
As part of the training, in their first year, community groups are challenged to perform a South African published script, before they present their own the following year.
The Iron is shown in the iconic Sibusiso Khwinana Theatre that has been earmarked by the SAST to be a stage for developing artists to mature through their works.
The auditorium is named after the slain theatre and film maker Sibusiso Khwinana who was also a product of the SAST’s development programmes. – citylifearts.co.za

Tickets are selling for R120 on Webtickets, which is available at the SAST, Pick n Pay stores, and online https://bit.ly/3c3NY7t

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