Galela: Watering Young Minds

Lerato Sefoloshe, Linda J Tshabalala and Mlindeli Emmanuel Zondi in Galela. Photo by: Toby Ngomane

South Africa might be slowly recovering from the water crisis with Cape Town dams back at 40% capacity but director of Galela, Thembela Madliki felt that it was still not enough. The award-winning director took to navigating a high energy cast of three through a fun, entertaining and educational story on being water wises. Under Madliki’s direction style, Lerato Sefoloshe, Linda Tshabalala and Mlindeli Zondi brought this piece to life.

This children’s theatre piece made great commentary on not only the very obvious water crisis that the country is facing, but also on the terrible habits that lead to that. And this work will re-sensitise older audiences to how negligent they are with water even when they think otherwise. The children will definitely be enlightened. This piece is also an important piece of children’s theatre because as Madliki said “children are agents of change” and so they should be held accountable in that way. The Galela team created strong images of young children taking a stand against irresponsible adults and holding them accountable.

Lerato Sefoloshe, Linda J Tshabalala and Mlindeli Emmanuel Zondi in Galela. Photo by: Toby Ngomane

This devised piece set in a re-interpretation of Sedibeng Municipality District makes great use of theatrical techniques to convey they story. With an exciting use of physicality, the actors transformed into different everyday objects as well as smoothly transitioned into different characters. The lighting design significantly helped in bringing the different locations we ventured to with the characters. The piece also made an effective use of soundscapes and singing, but the singing could have been slightly more crafted. Sefoloshe, Tshabalala and Zondi were entertaining, engaging and a pleasure to watch perform.

The strength of this piece lay in its articulate portrayal of the theme of being water wise and even more so in raising awareness about the amount of agency and ability that children have to effect change in their communities. In the end the three characters are our heroes who save the River Namahali. This is an important piece of theatre made for children, and really we’re all children at heart. I would definitely recommend it for moms, dads and everyone with a young to go see Galela.

By Toby Ngomane