Kani’s award-winning play still relevant to issues SA is facing — Dakile Ziaphora Dakile

Johannesburg. — TV and stage actor Ziaphora Dakile was just eight years old when playwright and actor John Kani penned his multi-award-winning play Nothing But The Truth.

Twenty-one years later, Dakile 29, is part of the cast who are set to bring the classic play back to life. The same play has been turned into a book and a film. While Nothing But The Truth is a classic story, Dakile believes that the story is relevant and touches on many issues that the country is currently facing.

Dakile has never seen the play but has watched the movie and she never thought that one day she will be in the play acting alongside one of the country’s most decorated thespians Sello Maake Ka Ncube.

Maake Ka Ncube portrays Sipho Makhaya, a role that was played by Kani many times. The show explores the complex dynamic between the blacks who remained in SA and risked their lives to lead the struggle against apartheid and those who returned victoriously after living in exile.

The show will open next Friday (March 31) at Sandton Theatre on The Square.

Dakile says working alongside a seasoned actor like Maake ka Ncube is a blessing as she was still new in the industry. They have been rehearsing together for the past month.

“It is the most amazing experience that I have ever had,” said the Soweto-born actor.

“He [Maake ka Ncube] is a veteran actor who has been in the industry for a long time. In terms of theatre, he is extremely well versed. He is one of the most generous people that I have worked with. Theatre requires a collaborative effort and for one to be a team player. He is a team player, selfless, with incredible listening skills. .

“I have learnt to be a better actor through observing him and how to be a better collaborator. I think he has a very expansive imagination and he will go anywhere emotionally. When actors have been long in the industry they tend to stop exploring. But Sello continues to explore. I am very fortunate to work at the early stage of my career.”

Dakile who studied acting at the The American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City believes that her life is all about storytelling. The young actor landed her first acting job in SA right at the height of Covid-19 in 2020 in the theatre show called Diaparo Tsa Mama. The show was conceptualised for online viewing as theatres were closed at times.

It got positive reviews and when the country opened in 2021 it was given a run at the Market Theatre at the John Kani stage. She said getting a call that she has cracked into one of Kani’s classics was a big deal for her.

“I got the call from my agent and I was excited. I know acting and stories are reflection to society. For me as a 29-year-old woman, it is important, and I care about what is happening and the future of my country and I want it to flourish. The play asks us to assess the issue of equality and if we brought back the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) would it serve a purpose? Now we are in a situation as a country where youth still has questions of repatriation and asking about fundamental differences between equality and equity.”

“ Why can’t we have a TRC again to look at how we can assess the issue of free education, racism and economic equality in our country. How can we use the same framework to navigate the problems that we have like lack of accountability? We can’t have equality if we have not laid the groundwork of what equity looks like for people who have suffered through apartheid.”

In the show, Dakile plays the role of Makhaya, which has been played by many talented actors including Pamela Nomvete and Xolile Tshabalala. When she received the script she did not want to watch the movie again because she wanted to give the character her own interpretation.

Mandisa is the daughter of Themba Makhaya — Sipho Makhaya’s brother who died in London. The drama unfolds at the Makhaya homestead when Mandisa arrives with his father’s ashes to be buried in SA. — sowetan.

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