Sello Maake KaNcube depicts legendary figure

Sello Maake in House of truth 17Sello Maake Ka Ncube (“Scandal”, “The Lion King”, “Generations”) is gearing to honour the legendary journalist/author Can Themba at the Market Theatre.

The icon appears in the Market Theatre’s 2017 season opener at The Barney Simon @The Market Theatre, from tonight until 29 January, about the writer on a production called “The House of Truth”. The bio-play that premiered to rave reviews in 2016 at the National Arts Festival is written by Siphiwo Mahala, and directed by directed by Vanessa Cooke. Set to be followed by “The Suit”, which is Themba’s most famous work, it will launch a season of Themba’s works at the Market Theatre.

Laced with wit, humour and a deep sense of irony, the production reveals the circumstances that inspired some of Themba’s most intriguing works and covers some profound aspects of his life that are rarely written about. Themba’s complex life story, including his troubles with the Transvaal Department of Education which refused to recognise him as a qualified teacher although he had a degree, is interwoven with how he turned to journalism, rising through the ranks of Drum magazine to become an Assistant Editor, but without with any financial reward.

These frustrations are shared from his abode, “The House of Truth”, a single-room bachelor flat in Sophiatown in the 1950’s. It was Themba’s way of cocking a snook at snobbery, officialdom and anything that smacked of bureaucracy. Here he hosted candid debates where anyone, irrespective of race or social class, was welcomed to participate in intellectual engagement.

“This year we decided to celebrate Can Themba and Eskia Mphahlele, two writers who emerged from the 1950’s and who sat opposite each other in the Drum offices,” said James Ngcobo, the Market Theatre’s Artistic Director. “They were both prolific playwrights who, despite apartheid, covered everything from protest writing to love stories – it’s with this narrative that we have decided to celebrate the life and times of these giants.”

Themba would have turned 93 years in 2017, but died at 43. The Market Theatre’s 2017 programme has a strong element of celebrating this activist and literary genius. He is one of the most illustrious alumni of the century-old Fort Hare University. Other illustrious alumni of the university are Nelson Mandela, Oliver Tambo and Govan Mbeki and at least three African Heads of State: Seretse Khama (Botswana), Julius Nyerere (Tanzania) and Yusuf Lule (Uganda).

Book your tickets at or at the theatre. For block bookings, contact Anthony Ezeoke on 011 832 1641 ext 121 or Ncebakazi Thintsila 011 832 1641 ext 135.