A South African musical looks at the costs to young people of trying to be what they are not.
This Youth Month, the South African State Theatre presents the musical QINA, which tells a story of a young student who gets swallowed by the city while chasing his dreams.
QINA is a Zulu or Xhosa word that means ‘be strong’. This is an apt title for a show that looks at the depression suffered by many of the youth in South Africa today.
It will be showcased from 4 to 23 June at the State Theatre before it heads to the National Arts Festival in Makhanda in the Eastern Cape in July.
The play – which has thrilling choreography and afro backing sounds – depicts how a malicious girlfriend, a devious lecturer and fake friends nearly ruin the life of a young male student.
It aims to expose the good and the bad side of selfless love and how the practice of hypergamy (marrying a person of a superior class) contributes to patriarchy and gender-based violence.
QINA features performers Katlego Nche, Mpule Matlhola and Percival Moeketsi. It was written, directed and choreographed by Given Wiseman Chauke, whose potential was spotted during the State Theatre’s incubator programme in 2018.
Explaining what inspired him to tell such a story, Chauke said: “People are constantly depriving themselves of content and joyful lives by trying to please the world around them. The truth is, you cannot please everyone and you can’t ‘fit in’ everywhere, no matter how you try. It is better to be happy with yourself and be loved for who you are than to suffer for what you are not.”
Chauke was born and raised in Tembisa, where he started performing at the age of seven.
He also took drama classes at Bokamoso Secondary School, Sibikwa Saturday Arts Academy and Tswelopele Performing Artists where he learned acting, writing, directing, choreography and arts entrepreneurship.
During this time, he won several awards for excellence. In 2013, he enrolled for Musical Theatre at the Tshwane University of Technology.