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Thursday, February 25, 2021


A global pandemic gives rise to an inspiring documentary

In the midst of a global pandemic, a South African dance teacher has to keep her business afloat, and is forced to reinvent her traditional training methods.

Born from a deep need to instil hope in her students during the bleakest of years in 2020, Pointe Shoes, Prayers & A Pandemic is an inspiring documentary short film which encapsulates the journey of Michelle Pieterse and her dance studio (Michelle Leibrandt School of Dance) during the turbulent 2020.

The heart-warming and often gut-wrenching film releases to the general public worldwide for free online screening on Friday, February 26 at 20h00 and will continue to be available for streaming online for a limited viewing period until Monday, March 1, 2021, at 23h59.

Pointe Shoes, Prayers & A Pandemic was filmed in September 2020 and is produced, written and directed by acclaimed screenwriter/producer Ferdinand W Gernandt, with Michelle Pieterse as Executive Producer. Director of Photography is Gavin Pincus, edited by Andries de Jager of Post Modern, with Music Arrangements by Marlee and Frans van der Merwe.

2020 began with great promise and expectations for Michelle Pieterse and MLSD Studio. Her dance classes were jam-packed with eager students who had painstakingly been training and preparing for months for a much-anticipated World Dance Challenge Finals in Portugal. (April 2020)

Then in an instant, those dreams were shattered as COVID-19 came to erase all of it.

Pieterse’s concern rachets up to 11 when she is put in a very distressing position when she has to inform her students and their parents that their much-anticipated trip to Portugal was cancelled only days before departing and that they could quite possibly lose all their money invested in the trip. She couldn’t have predicted that a global pandemic would put the whole world in lockdown when the planning for the tour began.

After the hard lockdown when the school could re-open, Pieterse promises a safer way of training, only to discover another threat to her business’ survival - her students leaving for a number of reasons, including new financial and economic limitations of the parents also affected by the pandemic.

Through prayer, she realises the only way to instil hope and inspire them to achieve their dreams for 2020 is to give her students a platform to showcase their hard work.

During worshipping she knew exactly what her task was. Produce a film to tell her testimony of how God guided her through every obstacle she faced in 2020 and that through obeying and trusting in Him, it was possible to produce something good, positive and inspiring. A story of hope and faith.

Thus Pointe Shoes, Prayers & A Pandemic was born. A story is told of how an artform such as dancing created an escape for South African young dancers.

Says Ferdinand W Gernandt: “I wanted to produce a project that inspire and facilitate positive change. I wanted to create a supportive environment where the crew and students could be part of a legacy – A message of hope. A motivational beacon of faith. This is what Pointe Shoes, Prayers & A Pandemic is all about…”

Even prior to release, the film has garnered great attention not only locally but internationally too. The film has already received its first official international festival selection by The Lift-Off Sessions. The Lift-Off Sessions is a monthly online showcase, dedicated to screening the monthly collection of globally-submitted indie shorts and features. With the aim to send each programme out to as wide an audience as possible.

Pieterse concludes; “We have a beautiful testimony to share. A legacy these dancers are part of. A story to remind our young dancers and those from the rest of the world, how amazing and strong they really are and that no matter the circumstances, any dream is always within grasp, if we only believe and know that all things are possible through the One who gives us strength.”

Pointe Shoes, Prayers & A Pandemic releases on Friday February 26 at 20h00 (GMT +2) and is available for free online screening worldwide for a limited period until March 1 at 23h59 (GMT +2)

In order to view the film, pre-register online at via “On Demand”

The film is free to view, but there is an option included for the viewer to show their support, should they wish to, of MLSD Studio and future projects (which includes a full-length feature film showcasing their students).

This can be found via the “Buy me a Coffee” link, either at the bottom of the web page, otherwise at

All support would be welcomed (although not essential to view the film) by the school to help finance the upcoming project and ensure all their students are able to dance again through the support of the MLSD Dancers Fund for current students who cannot afford class fees due to the financial impact of Covid-19 Pandemic.

Pointe Shoes, Prayers & A Pandemic is predominantly in Afrikaans with English subtitles. The production was made with the assistance of the National Film and Video Foundation of South Africa.


COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on South Africa’s theatre and dance sector. This time also offers an opportunity for those involved in the sector to upskill themselves and acquire insights into how to survive both the pandemic and beyond.

To this end, the STAND Foundation (Sustaining Theatre and Dance Foundation) is offering a series of short courses in March that range from creative theatre skills, to business and entrepreneurial skills, contractual and intellectual property knowledge.

The courses are categorised in four broad areas:

-Practical Theatre Skills;

-Entrepreneurial and Business Skills;

-Producing and Touring;

-Intellectual Property,

-Ownership and Artists’ Rights.

Most of the courses will be offered online, while there is a practical theatre course in a physical space in each of Cape Town and Johannesburg. Generally, the courses run for 1-5 sessions of 90-180 minutes each and cost approximately R50 per session.

Bursaries are available to cover both data participation costs as well as fees for those who may require assistance. The STAND Foundation Summer School is sponsored by the Netherlands Embassy.

For more information visit



This Saturday, February 27, 2021, the KZNSA Gallery will be hosting the Tinz Pop-Up Market where you can be sure to pick up some great vintage finds!

The Market will be open from 09h00 until 15h00. Entrance is free but no masks, no entry!

Become a member of the KZNSA to receive 10% off your food purchases at the Café.

The KZNSA Gallery is situated at 166 Bulwer Road, Glenwood, in Durban. More information on 031 277 1705 or cell 082 220 0368 or visit


(Right: Gregory Maqoma)

A new online dance series dubbed Transpositions: Dance Poems for an Online World. The first episode was developed by Soweto dance artist and choreographer, Gregory Maqoma.

In Maqoma's dance poem, students explore movement in their quarantined space while also invading the viewers’ personal space through the screen, as so much of life is now on video chat.

Maqoma has collaborated with artists like Akram Khan, Vincent Mantsoe, Faustin Linyekula, Shanell Winlock, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, Nhlanhla Mahlangu, William Kentridge and Kwame Kwei-Armah. He has won FNB Vita Choreographer of the Year, Tunkie Award for Leadership in Dance, a Bessie Award, and the Knight of the Arts & Literature Award, among others. In 2020 Maqoma was named the author of the International Dance Day Message.

Created by Yale Schewarzman Center and Yale Dance Lab, the Transposition series is designed to bridge the performing arts gap created by the pandemic. It features 16 renowned dance artists in a 16-episode series, performed by 66 dancers from 12 dance groups and a variety of genres. The weekly series premieres new episodes each week. Each episode knits together local, national, and international communities of dance and explores the continuous and interrupted dance practices in digital life. New episodes, along with behind-the-scenes interviews, are scheduled to air from February 15 until May 10, 2021.

For more information, visit


(Above: Mingmei & Gongxuan Zhang)

Raising the curtain as the Prelude Performers at Friends of Music’s Lupa Trio concert on February 28, 2021, at the Durban Jewish Centre, will be the very talented pianists, Mingmei (14) and Gongxuan Zhang (12).

The sisters are scholars at Our Lady of Fatima Convent School in Durban North. Both have won many prizes and awards at various festivals and competitions such as the Queensburgh Festival, eThekwini Eisteddfod, and Pretoria Eisteddfod.

Their programme is as follows:

Mingmei - Etude op 25 no 2 by Frédéric Chopin

Gongxuan - Remote Xianggelilia by Ma Jinfeng and Zhang Nan

Duo - Dolly Suite op 56 no 1 (Berceuse & Mi-a-ou) by Gabriel Faurè

The main feature of the Friends of Music concert is the Lupa Trio on February 28, 2021, featuring Aristide du Plessis (cello), Ralitza Macheva (violin) and Annamaria D’Andrea (viola). They are musicians with the KZN Philharmonic Orchestra, as well as having distinguished careers as ensemble and solo musicians.

The programme will include Beethoven Trio Op 9 – D major and Beethoven Trio Op 9 – G major.

The concert will take place on February 28, 2021, at 15h00 at the Durban Jewish Centre, 44 KE Masinga Road.

Tickets R120 (R100 Friends of Music members). Audience numbers are limited to 50. So pre-booking is essential.

Contact or phone Keith on 071 505 1021.

All Covid protocols will be observed.


(Above: “Inhlozane Impressions I” 20 x 20cm Oil on Canvas)

Article by artist Trayci Tompkins:

(Right: Diane Erasmus at work)

“Landscape artist Diane Erasmus has been on an artist sabbatical with me here in studio these past few weeks.

I must say that after a year of COVID alone-time it’s been like heaven having her creative energy here...

Having recently wrapped up her coastal studio ahead of a relocation, Di has been in an artist-limbo and the timing was perfect for me to throw some new challenges her way. 

(Left: “Inhlozane Impressions II” 20 x 20cm Oil on Canvas)

Before she unpacked her easel, we did a quick dive into texture play with lino cut and geli printing alongside some acrylic and ink explorations.

As an accomplished oil painter, Diane doesn’t get much time in her busy studio practice to work outside of her zone .. so this was truly an inspiring sojourn for her, and me (I find I always learn something new when I teach).

Not only was she blown away by the enormity of ‘Green’ that surrounds us here in the Dargle, but shared my love for our landmark Inhlosane’ that dominates our horizon view... 

(Right: Trayci Tompkins)

It’s a real treat to see our neighborhood through another artist’s eyes.” - Trayci Tompkins

For more information contact Diane Erasmus on +27 82 495 9810, email: or visit



Wednesday, February 24, 2021


Closing Date: February 28, 2021.

ARTLAB is still on the lookout for participants.

ARTLAB invites you to take part in the first edition of the ARTLAB Mentorship Programme.

Be part of a three-month programme providing tools dedicated to developing, and accelerating the professional growth of emerging creatives of various disciplines in Durban: photography, digital design, fashion, graphic design, illustration and videography.

ARTLAB Durban provides industry relevant mentorship and free office and studio space within a busy Creative Hub and Co-working Studio.

Closing Date: February 28, 2021.

Apply online at


Applications Close: March 3, 2021

Only one week remains to apply for the ACT Building Blocks Programme 2021 funded by the National Arts Council (NAC). The open call closes on March 3, 2021.

The Building Blocks Programme is one of ACT’s most impactful programmes in empowering a large number of arts and culture practitioners across South Africa to bolster their professional and business acumen with an arts specific framework. In early 2021, ACT presented the updated Building Blocks curriculum to arts and culture practitioners from across South Africa. The new curriculum addresses current challenges and offers tangible business solutions for sustainability in the arts and culture sector.

The Building Blocks Programme is a capacity building programme with a focus on small (micro-business) to mid-level organisations and arts practitioners in the form of Masterclasses focused on:

-Digital Skills


-Governance and Monitoring & Evaluation

-ABCD (Asset Based Community Development) in the arts

The master class learnings will be applied to a current project that the individual or organisation is conducting through assignments given throughout the course. Each participant will also receive individual mentoring on the development of the project that was put forward in the online application to the Building Blocks Programme.

Through the Building Blocks Programme the organisation strives to increase the capacity and sustainability of South African arts and culture organisations and practitioners, small and mid-level creative enterprises and entrepreneurial artists.

The Building Blocks Programme will strengthen the operational infrastructure of the programme participants by providing technical assistance and relevant developmental tools through master classes and mentoring and in so doing serving the creative sector holistically.

The Building Blocks Programme is robust and rigorous business developmental programme requiring participants to conduct themselves professionally and with a level of commitment towards curriculum completion.

ACT CEO Marcus Desando says: “ACT has committed itself to consistently deliver opportunities that impact the arts and culture sector through skills development and empowerment-focused activities. The ACT Building Blocks makes it possible for us to achieve this and we are proud that the development of this programme has become a regular activity for us an organisation.”

Applications Close: March 3, 2021

Outcomes: April 2, 2021

Application Details:

Complete the online application form:

Important: Due to capacity only five companies/organisations/artists from each province in South Africa will be selected to participate.

* Only South African nationals may apply and projects must take place in South Africa. Allocation of programme slots is at the discretion of the ACT board of trustees. The decision about all applications for participation is final and no further correspondence will be entered into.

To link direct to the Arts & Culture Trust’s site, click on the ACT logo to the right of this article or visit

Tuesday, February 23, 2021


(Happy Family, oil on canvas by Edgar Hunt)

In May 2017, a devastating flood occurred in the basement of Pietermaritzburg’s Tatham Art Gallery. Some 449 individual items from the Gallery's permanent collection were damaged, including paintings, paper works, gilt frames, oriental rugs, fibre works and a sculpture.

It is almost four years since this event. Apart from nine art works which were deemed irreparable, all art works damaged by the water have been repaired by various expert conservators. A selection of restored art works will be exhibited alongside images of the damaged works, taken immediately after the flood.

This exhibition - After The Flood - consists of art works which have been restored to their former glory and celebrates the recovery of a national art collection from a major disaster.

Watch the press for details of a paper conservation workshop. Also look at the Gallery’s Facebook page and Instagram account for more information.

After The Flood runs in the Tatham Art Gallery’s Main Gallery from February 28 at 11h00 until April 18, 2021, when it closes at 14h00.

The Tatham Art Gallery is situated opposite the Town Hall in Chief Albert Luthuli Street, Pietermaritzburg. It is open from Tuesdays to Sundays from 10h00 to 17h00. Café Tatham is open on Saturdays. Safe parking with a car guard available. More information on 033 392 2801 or visit


But there is power in the telling, and as I said, the examination of how there are always some who ruthlessly exploit the misery of others for gain is sobering, especially now. (Review by Margaret von Klemperer)

Ronald H Balson scored a big international hit with Once We Were Brothers, and with Eli’s Promise he returns to the theme of the Second World War, starting in Nazi-occupied Poland, moving on to a camp for displaced persons in the American zone of post-war Germany, and then to Chicago during the Vietnam war. And besides the main character – Eli – the linking theme is profiteering. It is something that resonates as the world now battles with the Covid pandemic and the inevitable shenanigans that are going on over procurement of PPE and vaccines.

We first meet Eli Rosen in Lublin in Poland, where he, his wife Esther and their young son live. Eli manages the family’s brickyard, which the Nazis see as important to their war effort, so, at least for a time, he escapes the ghetto and continues to work, although the business falls into the non-Jewish hands of Max Poleski, one of his sales team, who claims he will work with the Nazis to keep Eli’s family safe.

But, of course, things are complicated, and while Balson shows little of the horrors of the concentration camps, in the second section of the story, Eli and his son are among the displaced, desperately trying to find out what happened to Esther, hoping to get a visa for the United States and trying to combat a profiteer who is peddling visas and cheating desperate people. And who Eli is convinced is Max, the same man he knew in Lublin.

The final twist to the plot sees Eli in America in 1965, still searching for the truth about Esther, and still on the trail of Max, who, Eli believes, has moved his profiteering activities to a new theatre of war.

Moving between the three time frames makes the book feel jerky, and even rushed in places, and there were moments, particularly in the parts set in Chicago, where I found the characterisation a little obvious – shades of grey were in short supply. But there is power in the telling, and as I said, the examination of how there are always some who ruthlessly exploit the misery of others for gain is sobering, especially now.

Eli’s Promise is published by St Martin’s Press. ISBN: 9781250271464 - Margaret von Klemperer

Monday, February 22, 2021


Deadline for submissions: March 14, 2021

The 24th Time of the Writer International Festival hosted by the Centre for Creative Arts (CCA), University of KwaZulu-Natal taking place from March 15 to 21, 2021, invites youth until 35 years old from South Africa and anywhere from the African continent to submit videos of their book reviews for the online African Book Review Competition.

In conjunction with the Time of the Writer festival, the competition is open to youth under 35. It aims to encourage reading and writing in young people while functioning as a springboard for the future writers on the African continent. With the festival’s long-standing commitment toward nurturing a culture of reading and writing, this competition has received a broad appeal that continues to grow with each edition of the festival. Winners are awarded cash prizes.

As one of the country’s longest-running literature festivals, Time of the Writer features a diverse gathering of leading novelists, social commentators, activists, playwrights, short story writers and poets. This 24th edition features authors in conversation, panel discussions, a public participation programme, and exhibitions focused on many socially-relevant themes such as whistleblowing, migration, colonialism, gender-based violence and sexual identity.

Competition Terms and Conditions

The video Book Review competition is open to person from anywhere in South Africa or the African continent

There are two categories for the competition

-Under 18 years

-Over 18 to 35 years

This is a family competition so vulgarity will immediately disqualify an entry

Maximum 1 video submission allowed per person.

Video recordings received will be posted on the Time of the Writer social media pages. The organisers cannot guarantee that your video will be shared.

The organisers have the right to disqualify your video if it does not follow the rules or required format.

The Judge’s decision is final. No correspondence will be entered into about the outcomes.

Closing date is March 14, 2021


How to Enter

Send a video recording of your book review via WhatsApp on +27 71 326 7272. All entries must include your full name, age and contact details.

Tell us:

-the name of the book and the author of the book

-what is the central theme of the book

-something about the characters

-why you enjoyed reading the book

-why you recommend others to read it.

-what you need to know about making your video book review:


Keep your video recording to no more than 2 minutes.

Video recordings can be submitted in any South African official language.

Prizes for each category: First Prize: R5,000; Second Prize: R2,500; Third Prize: R1,500; Audience Choice: R1,000

The Audience Choice prize will be determined by the video review that receives the most LIKES and SHARES on Time of the Writer’s social media pages.

Time of the Writer is made possible through partnerships with the KZN and National Department of Sports, Arts & Culture, Amazwi South African Museum of Literature, the French Institute of South Africa, Imbiza Journal of African Writing, the STAND Foundation, and the Foundation for Human Rights.

For more information on the festival, visit

To stay updated, follow @Timeofthewriter on Twitter and Instagram or like the festival on Facebook at


The Side Hustle Market is a monthly farmers/producers’ market offering a wide range of local products which takes place on month-end Saturday from 09h00 until 14h00.

“Side Hustle is about the amazing resilience and creativity that exist in Durban. In moments of struggle and uncertainty we have seen so many incredible transformations of people re-inventing and innovating new ways to move forward,” say the organisers.

“The Market aims to highlight and create opportunity for small Durban business to be able to sell their products. It is part farmers market part producers / makers market. We will be growing it to be your one stop for fresh produce, homemade goods and bakes along with amazing selection of crafter and makers all housed in an incredible DOLOS venue located in the point waterfront precinct.”

The market will take place the first Sunday of the month from 09h00 to 14h00 at Dolos, 5 Southampton Street at the Point. Parking available at uShaka. DOLOS is opposite the uShaka parking entrance

If interested in becoming a vendor or require more information email

The Street Lit vendors will be there selling quality second-hand books.

Covid protocols apply.