Start main page content


Ten Bush

When: Tuesday, 17 October 2017 - Saturday, 21 October 2017
Where: Braamfontein Campus East
Downstairs Theatre, Wits Theatre Complex
Start time:19:30

Bridget van Oerle 011 717 1376 /

Cost: Full price = R85.00; discount price = R60.00 (students, pensioners and Wits staff)

The Wits School of Arts and Wits Theatre presents Ten Bush, written by Mncedisi Shabangu and Craig Higginson and directed by Prince Lamla.

Ten Bush was originally created by Mncedisi Shabangu, through the Market Theatre Laboratory, and has since been reworked by both Shabangu and co-writer Craig Higginson after they embarked on an incredible journey to discover the intricacies and inner-workings of witchcraft.

Shabangu and Higginson visited a settlement known as Tenbosch, which inspired the title of the play, and was situated in the middle of a large and affluent sugarcane farm. “The farmer hadn’t bothered to provide sanitation or electricity for the settlement and the inhabitants got cold water from a single tap. The foreman, who had the highest status amongst the workers living there, had a bicycle and a walkie talkie for communicating with the farmer,” Higginson explains.  

The people in the settlement had crafted beautiful homes out of woven grass and reeds; the only furniture inside on the bare mud floor was a bucket and a mattress. This harsh yet arresting environment is what set the scene for Ten Bush

Higginson used plays like Macbeth and Blood Wedding as his frame of reference, while Mncedisi was influenced by Theatre de Complicite as well as his own upbringing and the stories he heard as a child. They decided to write the play with large sections of Siswati and English. 

Director of Ten Bush Prince Lamla, who is also a lecturer in the Theatre and Performance Division of the Wits School of Arts, speaks about why he chose this script for his 2017 production:

"Mncedisi Shabangu’s work has always fascinated me since before I became a director over a decade and a half ago. As a director, I always wanted to seize the opportunity to present his work. When I look at Ten Bush, it has all the elements of the kind of theatre that I think needs to be staged. So, works like Ten Bush, for instance, I think should become one of the classics. One of the reasons I have decided to direct this play is I want the challenge of making the spirit realm visible. Choosing this as a student play means I can expose students to contemporary South African work that is authentically African. Teaching at Wits, I am aware that part of the journey is to decolonise learning. So as part of the education and experiential learning this is a good script for them to become familiar with not just with the cultural practices but with the writers that are in the industry." 

Lamla had a very clear vision from the outset of how he wanted the production to look and feel. Drawing from Mncedisi and Higginson’s visit to Tenbosch in the middle of the sugarcane, he decided to leave the stage bare but for four benches and a few simple yet effective props including blankets and some leafy branches, which the actors use to create spaces and sounds. 

Hailing from Pietermaritzburg in KwaZulu-Natal, Lamla is an award-winning and leading theatre director of his generation. “We are excited to be staging this thought-provoking play at the Wits Theatre and it is an honour to have the talents of Prince who brings a distinctive style of direction to Ten Bush,” says Wits Theatre Director, Gita Pather.  

The talented cast of six are Ratanang Mogtsi, Abongile Maurice Matyutyu, Nolitha Radebe, Xolile Gama, Angelinah Mofokeng and Sandile Mazibuko.

The play opened at the National Arts Festival in 2008 and then afterwards took to the Market Theatre stage. It was successfully received both critically and with the audiences, and won various awards. After its acclaim at the Market Theatre, Ten Bush travelled to Stockholm and a theatre festival in Germany. This is the first staging of the play since then.

VENUE: Downstairs Theatre Wits East Campus, Braamfontein

RUNNING TIME: 85 minutes


Full price = R80.00; discount price = R55.00 (students, pensioners and Wits staff).
Tickets are available at the door.
Full price = R85.00; discount price = R60.00 (students, pensioners and Wits staff).
Wits Tix on 13 October:  R10:00 online and R15:00 at the door 


calendar iconAdd event to calendar