The Rise of Shembe is a poetic musical that tells the story through poetry, music, dance and acting.

The play will take us through the journey of the first prophet of Ibandla lamaNazaretha. Isaiah Mloyiswa Mudliwamafa Shembe known as uMqali Wendlela, from birth until his last days by sharing details of some of his exciting and challenging activities from his younger age until his older age.

Isaiah Shembe was born in 1867 at Ntabamhlophe (Estcourt district) in the Drakensberg region (near Giants Castle) where his forefathers settled, when they escaped from the regiments of the Zulu King Shaka. Later, the family moved further on to Ntabazwe (Harrismith district) in the Basotho region of the Orange Free State, higher up in the Drakensberg Mountains. Prophet Shembe passed away in 1935.

The Shembe family originated from Zululand and the father of the Prophet Shembe was Mayekisa, the son of Nhliziyo, the son of Mzazela, the son of Sokhabuzela, the son of Nyathikazi. They are from the Ntungwa tribe with the praise-name Nhlanzi (fish) from Donsa.

The mother of the prophet was Sitheya, the daughter of Malindi Hadebe, and was born at Mtimkulu.

This play is 1 hour and 45 minutes long with 15 minutes interval and it is presented in Zulu, Sesotho, Xhosa and in English.



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