Evil stalks the township of KwaMashu, near Durban. It comes in the form of Whoonga, a toxic mix of B-grade heroin, rat poison and other chemical components that almost immediately sucks its users into the vortex of addiction and the crime, deception and personal tragedy that goes with it. Caught up in the web, the ulwembu of the title, presided over by the dealer, Bongani Mseleku, are Lieutenant Portia Mthembu, a police officer in the frontline of the fight against the scourge; her son Sipho; his friend, Andile Nxumalo, and Emmanuel Abreu, a Mozambique-born spaza shopkeeper. As it traces Sipho’s descent from talented scholar and aspirant poet and songwriter to suicidal addict, Ulwembu explores the effects of addiction not only on those who suffer from it but on communities, families and the police, both those who try to control the murderous trade and those who benefit from it. Using a process they have dubbed Empatheatre, The Big Brotherhood, Neil Coppen, Dylan McGarry and Mpume Mtombeni, aim to share ‘people’s real-life stories, with the intention to inspire and develop a greater empathy and kindness in spaces where there is conflict or injustice’. Ulwembu is the dramatic result of their efforts.
Acerca de Neil Coppen
Neil Coppen is an award-winning writer, director, designer and multimedia artist living in Durban. He won the 2011 Standard Bank Young Artist Award for Drama. Some of Neil's most acclaimed works are Tin Bucket Drum, Tree Boy, Abnormal Loads and Izipopolo.
Acerca de Mpume Mthombeni
Mpume Mthombeni is an award-winning performer and theatre-maker who has played roles in theatre, radio, film and television. In 2012 she took Tin Bucket Drum to New York in 2012 and received international acclaim for her performance.
Acerca de Dylan McGarry
Dylan McGarry has a transdisciplinary PhD in Environmental Education and Art (social sculpture). His work to date has mainly revolved around sustainable rural development, informal youth education in complex learning environments and social ecological learning in various contexts and cultures.