River of Tears by Busisiwe Mazibuko is a musical theatre production about a woman who has a calling. After being in denial for some time, she has a dream that leads her to the person who helps her to pursue the calling. For nine months she stays in the mountains near a river, and over that time gains knowledge and strength. Her gift grows in power and she is able to connect and communicate with nature.
Writer and Director: Busisiwe Mazibuko
Stage Manager and Costume: Boitumelo Tukisi
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Bisisiwe Mazibuko is a founder of Inkaba Creative Art House, an organization that uplifts and creates job opportunities for artists coming from disadvantaged communities. Multitalented Busisiwe is also a writer, director and actress.
She is part of the project Count Me In “16 days of activism against woman and children abuse”, and hosted the Siyazikhakhazisa Theatre Festival where 17 productions are given a platform to showcase for free.
At the age of six, Busisiwe discovered her singing talent while doing choral music at Vulamehlo Primary School. In 1994 she joined a choir called Mangeloyi which specialized in Tap and Clap. In her senior year she formed and directed a choir group which she called Bless and Mercy. In 2011, she moved to Pretoria where she joined Mpumalanga Gospel Expo (MGE) for a year contract.
In 2012, she studied at Usuthu Art Productions. In 2014 she took part in various theatre plays, including Beating The Ground, Walk Out, and Tormented. In the same year she became part of Bokaba, a project which was produced by Sanku Patrick. In 2015 she was cast in an industrial play, C.A.R (Continuous Application of the Rules), produced by a radio presenter of Ikwekwezi FM, William Jiyane, famously known as “Wizoo”. Later that same year, she was approached to work as a vocal trainer for gospel groups including Worship Collaboration.
In 2017 she joined the march for women that was formed by #NotInMyName as a lady in white. It was broadcast on SABC 1,2 & 3, eNCA and The Citizen. Busisiwe also did New Song (Musical) as a singer and dancer. She is part of a multi award-winning Xhosa production, Xova, written and directed by award-winning director Joseph Komani. The production walked away with 5 Naledi Theatre awards for best play, best new script, best director, best support performance in play female and best costume design.
Prudence Obakeng Kgomo is an artist, aspiring poet, dancer, actor and model who was born and raised in Hummanskraal Stinkwater (Pretoria). Her artistic journey began at the age of six, when she joined a drama group in her community as an extra activity. She performed her first poem at Unisa Language Festival where she was invited as one of the best English learners. In 2019 she took part in drama and poetry groups as social activities at Boston College and won Miss GAMA 2019-2020. Obakeng became a freelancer in 2021 and was part of a short film called “I am”, written and directed by Nicholas Sithole. That same year she got more opportunities and was introduced to theatre and radio. She played lead roles in two theatre plays (Independent and River of Tears) written and directed by Busisiwe Mazibuko. She also played lead roles in two radio dramas (Quarantine and Tshepo) written and directed by Thulani Ramogototoane.
Zile Masilela is 23 years old and grew up in Hebron, Pretoria. She is a talented actress and singer. Her journey began in 2012, when the choir she was part of performed at Roodepoort Theatre. In 2015, she performed in a poetry show by S.J. Malemane. In 2018, she completed a course in performing arts at Puo Media at the State Theatre. She starred in The Crucible, directed by Sibusiso Khiwana, Serona ke se Garone, directed by Mandela Ntlaks, and Dance Explosion, directed by Bafikile Sedibe. She is currently part of an award-winning theatre production, River of Tears. The play has enabled her to perform at Wushwini Art Centre, KCAP Theatre in Kwazulu Natal, and at the National Arts Festival.
Phethego Germina Makena is an artist, aspiring actor, dancer, and model. Her artistic journey began at the age of 12 when she joined acting groups at a nearby community hall. She performed her first show (16, The Game Changer) at the South Africa State Theatre in 2019. She was part of a theatre production, River of Tears, written and directed by Busisiwe Mazibuko, which participated in the Women in Theatre Festival in 2021 and won first place.
Mojalefa Makuwa is from a village called Dennilton in Limpopo. He realised his passion for music and other creative arts early, and as soon as he was done with high school, he started pursuing his passion. He studied Classic Theory at the University of South Africa and started playing music with various bands around Pretoria. He followed that by enrolling to study jazz at Tshwane University. He is a music producer, pianist, writer and arranger who has worked with various artists in a number of productions.
Ntsike Mfene was born and bred in Tembisa. She is an ambitious young lady with aspirations to become and actress. Her passion for performing began at a young age when she used to impersonate friends and family members. Her beautiful singing voice and acting skills gave her the opportunity to be part of productions including Protest by Mpumelelo Paul Grootboom at the State Theatre. She continues to evolve in the theatre world.
Boitumelo Joyce Tukisi is an industrious young woman with an artistic inclination, born in the small town of Montshioa in the North West Province. A serendipitous incident led her to discover her artistic side in a community drama group. Her journey began at the age of 15 when she joined a drama group in her community at Mmabana. It was all about young and talented children who were being developed. Boitumelo performed her first show at the opening of the Jabulani Tsambo (HHP) Festival. In 2019 she took part in Beating The Ground Musical, directed by Paepae Kenny Mmekwa. Boitumelo became a freelancer in 2021, and took part in a short film, River of Tears, written and directed by Busisiwe Mazibuko. She was the stage manager and costume designer.
Ontlametse Masilo is a performing artist majoring in drama, acting and directing. She is a plus-size commercial model who influences on body positivity. She was invited to be part of the New York international arts showcase where she worked with some international artists, including Rhavynn DRUMMER from Tyler Perry Studios, Nate Butler, and Blaze Johnson. She also did a few national films, Letters of Hope and Meisies wat bennard. She was part of the production River of Tears, which was selected to represent Gauteng at the Women’s Festival. She performed in a play called Pelegi that ran at The South African State Theatre during the Incubator Festival.