Subscribe to industry newsletters


Search jobs

Kunene and the King premieres at Joburg Theatre

The Joburg Theatre and John Kani have partnered with 702 to present the premiere of Kunene and the King, as well as the national tour.
Image sourced from the Joburg Theatre .
Image sourced from the Joburg Theatre website.
Directed by Janice Honeyman, Kunene and the King makes its return to South African theatres with performances commencing at the Joburg Theatre, thereafter moving onto the Playhouse Theatre and Mandela Bay Theatre Complex in July 2022.

After a successful run in Stratford –upon-Avon in 2019, Kunene and the King premiered to a sold-out house at the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Swan Theatre before continuing to sell-out houses during their stint at the Fugard Theatre in Cape Town. The show described as “rich, raw and shattering” (The Times), certainly impressed critics and audiences alike.

"We are thrilled to partner with theatre doyen such as John Kani. It is pivotal to always tell our stories as we introspect on history and look forward to building a brighter future as a nation. Theatre is a vehicle, even though at times always overlooked, it is the key driver in building the generation of storytellers”, says Xoliswa Nduneni-Ngema, chief executive officer at Joburg City Theatres.

Penned by actor and playwright John Kani, Kunene and the King is set 25 years after the country’s first post-apartheid democratic elections and tackles head-on the personal implications of the supposed new equality.

“Kunene and the king has been a special gift to me as a writer. I wrote the play to deal with some questions that I had within myself. And when I finished writing the play, I sent it to a friend of mine, Sir Anthony Sher at the Royal Shakespeare Company, because I had him in mind to play this wonderful character, Jack Morris,” said Kani.

“It gives me great pleasure to bring my play back to South Africa, for the people I write for and to get the opportunity to be at the Joburg Theatre. Being at the Mandela theatre is almost completing a journey that I have been going on for a long time. Thank you to the Joburg, theatre management and everybody who supported me in this journey. Meet me at the Joburg Theatre on my way to the Playhouse in Durban, and to the Mandela Bay Theatre complex. Kunene and the King asks, we fought for liberation. We fought for freedom. We ended up with democracy. What is democracy?” he continued.

This rich and raw exploration of race, class and politics will be staged at The Mandela at Joburg Theatre from 27 May until 19 June 2022 before it jets off to other theatres around the country.

Limited tickets are available in line with Covid regulations here. Please note that children under the age of 15 will not be allowed.

Let's do Biz