Using animated designs and selections of music, acclaimed musician Neo Muyunga will discuss the genesis of The Flower of Shembe, the conceptual basis for it as well as the considerations of mounting the work inside one of our country’s most contested terrains – the Iziko South African National Gallery.
The Flower of Shembe is an operetta about faith and destiny, based on the story of myths surrounding Isaiah Shembe. Shembe founded the New Nazareth African Church (iBandla la maNazaretha) at the beginning of the 20th century, and became regarded by many followers as God-made-flesh. He also had detractors, however, who saw him variously as a radical revolutionary, a charlatan and/or a trickster-magician.
In this new fictional operetta, Muyanga sets out to reflect the epic perils such a journey might entail. In doing so, he also speculates on what manner of trials and tribulations a new incarnation of Shembe might have to live before they were able to come to terms with their own destiny.
Muyanga was born in Soweto, into a long line of traditional composers and makers of the timbila (a Mozambican tuned wood percussion instrument). He studied the Italian madrigal tradition with choral maestro, Piero Poclen, in Trieste, Italy. Neo composes works for choir, chamber and large ensemble and continues to tour widely as a solo performer and as a member of Blk Sonshine. Most recently, his Memory of How It Feels was performed at the Baxter Theatre. He has also composed for the Royal Shakespeare Company and Handspring Puppet Company, and is co-curator of the Pan African Space Station (PASS) with Ntone Edjabe.
Refreshments served from 5 pm, lecture commences at 5.30 pm.