Can Themba’s play launches Market Theatre’s 2017 Season

The Market Theatre’s 2017 season will open with The House of Truth, a bio-play written by Siphiwo Mahala about South African writer Can Themba; directed by Vanessa Cooke and performed by venerable actor, Sello Maake ka Ncube.screen-shot-2016-12-19-at-9-34-18-am

The House of Truth premiered to rave reviews in 2016 at the National Arts Festival. Laced with wit, humor and a deep sense of irony it 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 recognize him as a qualified teacher despite him holding 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.

The House of Truth was Themba’s way of cocking a snook at snobbery, officialdom and anything that smacked of bureaucracy. He hosted candid debates where anyone irrespective of race or social class was welcomed to participate in intellectual engagement.

Acted by one of South Africa’s most accomplished and internationally revered actors, Sello Maake ka Ncube, and directed by Vanessa Cooke, a co-founder of the Market Theatre, The House of Truth will launch a season of Themba’s works at the Market Theatre. The House of Truth will be followed by The Suit, which is Themba’s most famous work.

“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. 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,” said James Ngcobo, the Market Theatre’s Artistic Director.

Themba would have turned 93 years in 2017, but died at the tender age of 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 centenary old Fort Hare University. Other illustrious alumni of Fort Hare 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).

Artistic Director James Ngcobo will announce more details about the Market Theatre’s 2017 programme early in the new year.


Season: 10 – 29 January 2017

Show times:Tuesdays to Saturdays @ 20h15

Sundays @15h15

Mondays: no shows
Venue:  The Barney Simon @The Market Theatre

Ticket Prices:

  • Student Price –  R65.00
  • Tuesday – Wednesday – R95. 00
  • Thursday: – R120.00
  • Friday – Saturday: – R 195.00
  • Sunday: – R 140.00                   

Book at

For block bookings, please contact Anthony Ezeoke 011 832 1641ext 121 or Ncebakazi Thintsila 011 832 1641 ext 135.