The Sesotho musical Paleho won the Standard Bank Standing Ovation award at Grahamstown last year and has played on some of the top stages in SA. Now this acclaimed production, written and directed by the award-winning Lebo Thope Leisa, has opened at the Arena Theatre at the State Theatre complex in Pretoria, where it will run until November 5.

Paleho, which means "fugitive" in English, is based on the life of a young girl on a quest for self-identity. In telling her story, it takes audiences into the sacred rituals of Basotho female initiates.

Leisa says he was motivated to write the play by a pressing need to tell Basotho stories and also because of the mystery, controversy and misunderstanding surrounding female initiation.

The production draws together the talents of 13 actresses, mostly from the Free State.

A film based on the play will hit the big screen in 2019.

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