It was a powerful performance and actors dramatized the 1976 student uprisings as they unfolded starting in Soweto and breading all over the country.
On his own part, Fikile Qithi who was is the central figure of the play delivered an address before the show. Casca Mokitlane, who was in the same draft with Qithi in 1976 to Robben Island prison in 1976 from Bloemfontein talked before the play started.
Mokitlane was a student teacher at Tshia Teachers Training College in Qwaqwa.
Qithi and Mokitlane told the well attended show that they were inspired by the students of Soweto in 1976. They were said they were happy to reconnect with the spirit, people and place where it all started.
Qithi paid tribute to the Thembekile High School. Also, he mentioned the role of Sehunelo High School, Lereko High School, St Bernard High School and Marang Primary School. Student leaders from these were; Pinkie Ditheko, the first youngerst student to be imprisoned at Robben Isalnd, Mpho Diba, Morena Matseletsele, Modise Phekonyane and Thenge Moadira, who is now a Major General in the South African National Defence Force.
Qithi also praised the father of the black consciousness in South Africa Steve Biko.
The beautiful set designed to project a classroom of 1976. IHOBE The Freedom Song was inspired by events of Soweto 16 June 1976, speeches of the Rev Jesse Jackson and activities of his organisation, PUSH, but more particularly at Ihobe Secondary School on 20 August 1976 in Mangaung.
The play start with a dialogue between Mohale Kulli who is acting as Fikile Qithi, a student at Ihobe Secondary School in the play and Zandi Ndamoyi who is acting as Tshediso Makhele, a student of St Bernard High School in Mangaung.
Kulli and Ndamoyi argue on how to organize students in Mangaung to boycott the celebration of Transkei Independence in Welkom and rejection of apartheid homelands and T.K Matanzima leader of the Transkei Homeland.
The move on the stage is followed is followed by two old women, Neo Motswagae and Magogo ( Nomakula Ludada) and old man Sam Lenko and they discuss the 16 June of 2015.
The students,(Keitumetsi Poonyane, Mohale Kuili, Yanga Kuse, Thabang Nkoko and Mpho Hlanyane) burst on to the stage with a revolutionary song. Also, in their school uniforms they make political speeches and plot to disrupt and burn the school in protest of Afrikaans as a medium of instruction at school and anti-Independence of Transkei( a former homeland) now part of the Eastern Cape Province. Neville Alexander, renown Western Cape Intellectual has extensively wrote that the Anti-Transkei Independence campaign help to spread the 1976 student uprisings.
The masterpiece is when a certain Prisnloo, a special branch (Freddy Johnson, a veteran actor) interrogates two students after 20 August 1976. Actor Zandi Ndamoyi(Van Rensburg, also special branch), complements the police role in this scene.
Prinsloo is looking for promotion in the police and he can achieve his aims if he stops the spreading of the Black Power from Soweto to Mangaung. Lucy Molehe a spy in the ranks of the student brings her role to life in the act.
The play also dramatizes the visit of the Rev Jesse Jackson in Soweto on August 1977 a year after the 1976 student uprisings.
Sister of the legendary Umkhonto weSizwe guerrilla Barney Molokoane said after watching the play: "The play reminds me of police coming at home searching for my brother Barney. I would wake up a gun pointing at my face. It was not easy. The present generation does know those hard times."
Mrs Busi Maseko, a senior teacher at Mcube High School in Mofolo, Soweto, who watched the play and her students said: "The play was brilliant, inspirational, entertaining and educational. The actors were very much into character and passionate. We thoroughly enjoyed it."
One member of the audience said: The play is so great. True story and real reflection of what happened. I am grateful to the producers, directors and cast members…giving us the true picture of the events."
The theme of the play (Ihobe The Freedom Song) is to highlight the contributions of the Mangaung and Ihobe Secondary School students to the event of 20 August 1976 in solidarity with the students of Soweto on 16 June 1976.
Fikile Qithi, then an Ihobe Secondary School student was sentence to five years imprisonment term on Robben Island for sabotage in connection with the epic events of on 29 September 1976.
The play, Ihobe The Freedom Song has been praised on radio and other media outlets.
It is going to play at the Bloemfontein Civic Theatre 30 and 31 July 2015.
Neo Motswage(Miloji ka Ntu chorister), Keitumetsi Poonyane, Mpho Hlanyane, Lucy Molehe, Nomakula Ludada, Thabang Lenko, Freddy Johnson, Zandi Ndamoyi, Mohale Kuili and Thabang Nkoko.
Stage Manager: Lefu Mokgatle
Director: Itumeleng Motsikoe
Story Teller: Fikile Qithi and Casca Mokitlane
Producer: Mpikeleni Duma
Sponsor: U.S Consulate Johannesburg.