Renowned small screen and theatre Actor Siyansanga Papu is starring in the multiple award-winning play XOVA which will be returning to the South African State Theatre (SAST) for a brief exhibition from 29 June to 03 July 2022, following a successful tour that featured the Market Theatre and Playhouse Company. She will star alongside Aphiwe Dumeko (as Thozama) in this all female cast masterpiece written and directed by Best Director Naledi Award winner Joseph Komani.

Papu assumes the lead role of Zukiswa, a young Xhosa woman facing the harsh realities of solo parenting inside a heavily disadvantaged family. Through her, XOVA poignantly probes father absenteeism in the upbring of children, especially the girl child. Papu takes over from  Charmain Mtinta who also took the baton from Zimkitha Kumbaca in 2019, both raising the bar on the character during their respective spells.

“Zukiswa is complex and rooted in who she is, and she is a great challenge to play,” says Papu on her role. “She is a mother with a hard past also leading a hard life. She is a strong character who was forced to be strong by circumstances. She is also filled with fear and that makes her very protective, and this is also how she shows love.

“I think, like most typical African adults Zukiswa struggled with expressing herself when growing up. That then led to her having a lot of things bottled up inside, which she now projects on her own child,” says Papu. “As an actor it is always great to be challenged by a role, especially ones that are very far from who you are as a person.”

Widely known for her role of Pretty Molefe on Mzansi Magic’s soapie Gomora, for which she received a Royal Soapie Awards nomination, Papu has always struck a balance between TV and theatre throughout her 16 years performing arts career. On stage she has starred in productions including Marikana The Musical -returning in August- where she earned a Naledi Theatre nomination in 2014, and featured in the Cape Town tour of the famous 50s musical KING KONG to name a few.

A product of the SAST’s Incubator Programme, XOVA won Naledi Theatre Awards including Best Theatre Play, Best Script and Best Direction in 2020.  Its award spree began with the Standard Bank Gold Ovation Award at 2019 National Arts festival. From the rave media reviews it has amassed, the production has notably been heralded as “one of the best (theatre) production of 2020” by Theatre in Africa Magazine.

XOVA’s run will showcase in the SAST’s Arena Theatre, brought to you by Keeloz Global Entertainment in partnership with SAST. Tickets are sold from R100 on Webtickets, which is available at theatre, Pick n Pay stores and online

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