Joburg Theatre hosts a play which tackles abuse through the eyes of the abuser.
Confessions, a play that tackles issues of violence and women abuse, runs at the Joburg Theatre from August 28 till September 8.

The story which interrogates the reasons men abuse women is told through the relationship of Thandi, played by Thendo Khabana, and Zuko, played by Mpilo Khumalo.

The youth-led production looks at various forms of violence against women including domestic violence, gang violence and rape as well as sexual harassment in the form of cat calling.

“We have to start including the males in this conversation, where we can talk about abuse with just women in this space. It’s the men that need to hear about it and hear the message,” said director and ‘theatrepreneur’, Mandla Mpanjukelwa.

The opening scene of Thandi lying on the floor as Zuko (KZ) frantically fights his paranoia, quickly draws the audience in. Thandi awakens to say “Baby, ndicela undiculele langoma ndiyithandayo,” which translate to “baby please sing that song that I like”.

A calm comes over KZ and the couple begin to tell the tale of their young love. A young village girl, new in the township, who meets a boy at school and they fall in love.

The play touches on issues of poverty with KZ deciding to leave school to make money, so he joins a gang known as the Blood Boys.

Even though Thandi does not agree with this decision, she goes along with it.

“I think for me what led the character of KZ to where he landed up was him not understanding his existence as a man, him not understanding his existence in society, him not understanding his existence in his relationship and how he can impact all of those roles,” said Khabana.

When the violent actions of the Blood Boys unexpectedly spill into there home than anticipated, the story quickly turns dark and violent. KZ makes a decision that haunts him for the rest of the play.

Khumalo told Wits Vuvuzela, “There are so many layers to this man that every night that I am learning something different about him. He is not a nice guy, being with him is very tricky.”

After receiving a present from KZ, Thandi decides to do some spring cleaning. This leads the play to an unexpected discovery which turns their relationship from sweet to sour in a matter of minutes.A sudden change that left audience members gasping in disbelief.

“At first it was a bit flat but … I enjoyed it, it was really nice,” said Zama Mdlalose an audience member.

The dramatic depiction wraps up all the issues of abuse in what seems to be a quick hour and ten minutes, a practical example of how quickly violence can swallow one’s mind. Confessions is a heart stopping reflection of how men and women behave in relationships that forces a conversation and revision from both sides.

A take away is that evil is not birthed but inherited through the trials experienced in everyday life.

FEATURED IMAGE: (Left to right) Mandla Mpanjukelwa, Thendo Khabana abd Mpilo Khumalo, director and cast of Confessions. Photo: Tsholanang Rapoo