Kraal of Dreams

Kraal of Dreams : Gloss 2

Kraal of Dreams : Gloss

Just imagine…

a theatre and creative arts practices with full knowledge of their purpose and their supreme mandate to the society they locate themselves in and from

a theatrical practice whose job it is to bring the darkness closer so as to see the light better

a laboratory of thinkers

a kraal of dreams

a bank of visions

a well of herbs of stories

a plantation of inspiration and a market of wisdom

a place of cross-generational exchange of views and knowledge a time and space of dream interpretation of sleeping time and waking time


Imagine a theatre of dream interpretation, fully incorporating the language that is familiar to the listener and so deep in its complexities that its meaning and teaching reach far beyond the performer. It engages with young people using creative arts. It revitalizes my spirit as an artist with holistic purpose.

Its approach of interdisciplinary work opens my mind to the true African aesthetic of making performance. Its process of inclusive creation ensures that its skills are transferred to all who participate. This is exactly how the African skills of storytelling and other forms of performances are thought from one generation to the other.

Its approach and philology of training centers itself around the notion of Ubuntu in teaching and in performances. This philosophy is still central to my work and my leadership practices today.


So I imagine…

a theatre whose processes include the maximum participation of the participants in creation

it is interdisciplinary

it entrances in the making of the performance

it is site-specific and about public art aesthetics

it is processional and about a spirit of mass community engagement

it is ritualistic and engages with life/live elements

it is of the now and about the fresh voices of the participants

it is a total reclamation of the stolen memory in African performances

it is contemporary

it is a kind of approach that heals

that develops through telling the stories that matter

the lost to those who tell it

it is a total resuscitation of an African spirit in creative arts



I am guided by a spirit

of nothing about us without us

by our voices about our voices

for our healing

About the Author

Writer, director, teacher, curator, and artist Mandla Mbothwe is a lecturer at the University of Cape Town’s Drama Department, co-Artistic Director of Magnet Theatre, and the Founder and Director of Mud and Fire Narrative and Mbothwe and Doni Collectives. He has served as Artistic Director of the Steve Biko Centre in King Williamstown and Creative Manager for the Artscape Theatre Centre. Mbothwe has worked both locally and internationally, with more recent projects including Biko’s Quest (2014) for the Artscape Heritage Festival, which later toured the Netherlands and United Kingdom; Artscape Theatre’s Easter Spiritual Arts Festival (2015); Robben Island Bible (2016); Oratorio of the Forgotten Youth (2016) with artists Thembi Mtshali, Mandla Mlangeni, Bo Peterson, Koleka Putuma; and 1976 Spirits (2016), a piece celebrating youth courage and resilience through mass dance and physical interpretation. He holds a MA in Theatre and Performance from University of Cape Town.