Hope the Rhino – Ithemba the Rhino (Xhosa)


Written by Taskeen Wadee. Adapted by Moira Katz. Directed by Ntambo Rapatla

National Children’s Theatre proudly presents Hope the Rhino / Ithemba the Rhino, an educational and literary theatre production that aims to teach children about saving our rhinos, the benefits of environmentalism and the joys of live theatre.  

“Only a rhino needs a rhino horn.” These words made a deep impression on young Taskeen Wadee in 2018 when she was 12 years old. She was so fired up over her concern that the rhino population was in danger of dying out, she used her imagination to to create the story of a little white rhino called Hope.

Hope, the rhino calf, lives with his mother and spends his days in the South African veld. He’s inquisitive and has fun learning about life. Hope wonders whether he will grow a horn—he actually thinks a rhino horn is boring, especially when compared with the interesting, curly, twisted, and spiral horns of the impalas, gnus, and other animals of the veld.

His mother tells him otherwise! His horn is his protection against other animals. His mother is a good and patient teacher and imprints on him the importance of smell as rhino eyesight isn’t good. One day his mother smells danger—poachers in the distance—and feels they have their eyes on her horn? What will happen next? What will happen to Hope’s mother? And what will happen to Hope? Can we save the white rhino from extinction? 

Taskeen’s story is thoughtful and highlights the importance of the rhino’s horn for survival. Moira Katz, NCT’s Trustee for Special Projects, took Taskeen’s story to heart and created an educational play outlining the dangers facing wildlife in South Africa.

Taskeen said, “I want to thank Moira Katz and National Children’s Theatre for putting up a plea for the white Rhino. Thank you too to my family for encouraging me to do my best and for reminding me to be responsible today, for the purpose of tomorrow. A huge thank you to John Bassi, CEO of Bass Air, who gave me an aerial view of rhinos and for all those other unnamed heroes and heroines out there, who fight selflessly and tirelessly to save the rhino.”

“I’m thrilled to collaborate with an incredible team of artists in Hope the Rhino and to direct this deeply imaginative theatrical adaptation for our audiences,” says Ntambo Rapatla. “Creative ingenuity and extraordinary work bring this powerful environmental story to life.

Moira Katz said, “I’m very proud to bring this must-see production to life, for young children at home and in all our schools. I look forward to welcoming families back to NTC’s Imagination Theater this September to experience this breathtaking theatrical production.”

Taskeen’s book is worth keeping in all libraries to inspire children around the world to write and create awareness about animal conservation. There is hope for the future!

Hope the Rhino is written by Taskeen Wadee; adapted by Moira Katz; directed by Ntambo Rapatla; Choreographer is Lesego Van Niekerk, Sound Designer is Thabiso Tshabalala, Set and Costume Design is by the Production Design Factory; our Stage Manager is Jane Gosnell and Assistant Stage Manager is Gideon Moyo. NCT’s Tour Driver is Terence Maphoto.

Dates             4 September to 2 October 2022

Times             09:30 and 11:00 Tuesday to Friday, weekend performance Saturday at 14:30 and Sundays at 11:00

Cost                R100 per audience member

Venue             3 Junction Avenue, Parktown

Please contact Cindy Gordon to book your school at 011 484 1584 or cindy@nctheatresa.org.za

National Children’s Theatre is the foremost children’s theatre in Gauteng, shining the bright light of educational, engaging and award-winning theatre for children and youth throughout South African cities and rural areas. NCT’s unwavering purpose is to transform young lives and grow societies’ next generation of leaders through the kaleidoscope of vivid and engaging performance arts, original and instructive musicals, and immersive after-school programs. NCT presents live theatre year-round at our renowned 4.5-acre campus in Johannesburg, which includes two indoor theatres, one outdoor theatre, a puppet theater, music room, and classrooms for the weekend workshop academy. NCT: Enchanting. Inspiring. Empowering.

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