A play about love and war in Mursiland 
(in development)

SOT’s first project (ongoing) works with SOT co-founder Olisarali Olibui’s community, the Mursi (or Mun, their self-designation). Olisarali has written a play—in collaboration with SOT member Tesfahun Haddis—dramatising a love story set in Mursiland and based on true events, in which two men are in love with the same girl. 


According to Mursi customary law, such a conflict is best resolved through donga (stick duelling), which is an important metonym of peace and stability in Mursiland. The play draws on the Mursi’s rich performative culture and oral traditions, with a cast of Mursi actors. It will be the first production put on by any community in South Omo and in their own language. Alongside the play, SOT is producing a broadcast quality feature documentary about the process, due for international release.

With plans for performances in Omo Valley, SNNPR and Addis Ababa, to which politicians will be invited, Olisarali hopes that the play will not only improve dialogue and relations between the Mursi community and the centralised government, but will transform political and cultural stereotypes about the Mursi.

Throughout the production, the South Omo Theatre team and its partners will strive to create works that are rooted in Mursi indigenous practices and remain locally relevant, while, at the same time, actively recognising and offering training and tutorials on international theatre practices.  


We are grateful to SOAS P4P programme in supporting the first stage of the project. For more information visit: https://grnpp.org/olisarali/