Injongo Primary School was established in Khayelitsha (new home in IsiXhosa) in 1986. Injongo was one of the first schools built in this new “non-white group area”. Today it serves over 1000 pupils from the ages of five to fourteen, with a pupil teacher ratio of 1:40.It has one of the best school choirs in the Western Cape and a strong sports programme. In the past it has produced young soccer players who have gone on to play professionally both nationally and internationally.
Liwa was established in Nyanga (the Moon in IsiXhosa) in 1959 with eight female teachers. Nyanga is one of the oldest townships surrounding Cape Town and one of the poorest. The school now serves over 500 learners from the ages of five to fourteen and has a pupil teacher ratio of 1:39. Maths, arts and culture are all important subjects at the school which has tremendously dedicated teachers.
Isango’s latest production A Man of Good Hope based on the book by Jonny Steinberg is a coproduction with Royal Opera, Répons Foundation, BAM and Les Théâtres de la Ville de Luxembourg.
We found Phielo Makitle, aged eleven and Siphosethu Juta, aged twelve, who both play ‘Asad’ in this production in Injongo and Liwa schools. We also found 20 more young men who could have played their parts. We went looking for actors – but what if we’d gone looking for sports players, physicists, community leaders, the child who one day will cure cancer…? The talent is phenomenal, the opportunities are few.
Phielo and Siphosethu both played to tremendous acclaim in London’s Young Vic theatre for six weeks last year followed by a run of the production at BAM in New York. Isango Ensemble and Young Vic Taking Part are collaborating with both schools on Fable by Luke Barnes, a play written in response to A Man of Good Hope.
We are working with our two schools to create the final part of this three part play, which tells the story of a young refugee making her way across the world. The first two parts have been made by young people in London and New York, and in July all three parts will come together in a film we are looking forward to sharing.
A note from Fable’s director:
My name is Madeleine Kludje and I am the director of all three parts of Fable. A story that explores young people’s perceptions of what it means to be a migrant and the different ways they gather information in order to understand, but also misinterpret one little girl’s story and her experience of being a migrant.
Working on Fable has been an absolute pleasure. I have had the opportunity to work with such talented young people from London, New York and Cape Town. Working with the young people from Injongo and Liwa primary schools in Cape Town has been incredibly special for me. Having the chance to work in the townships, in their schools and experience first hand their phenomenal talents has been amazing. The dedication and enthusiasm from all the young people has been heart warming, especially as many of them have never performed before and every single person did a fantastic job!
It was really important to me that in each country every young person had an opportunity to shine and that we included a part of their culture. Thank you Injongo and Liwa primary schools for all the beautiful songs you sang and your amazing dancing, but also for learning your scripts in English and Xhosa and giving incredible performances.
I would also like to say a massive thank you to all of Isango for assisting during rehearsals and mentoring the young people from the schools and also a big thank you to Mandisi Dyantyis for all the fantastic songs and Lungelo Ngamlana for the amazing dancing and movement.
Well Done everybody!