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Sunday, May 31, 2020


M-Net (channel 101) will host Series 2 of New Amsterdam tomorrow (June 1, 2020) at 19h00. The Series is titled Your Turn.

After becoming the medical director of one of the United States' oldest public hospitals, Dr Max Godwin sets out to reform the institution's neglected and outdated facilities to treat the patients.

This unique medical drama returns for another season. Max tries to find a new normal after the accident and the birth of his child. Kapoor faces the stigmas of ageing. Reynolds deals with a new intern.

The series features Ryan Eggold as Dr Max Goodwin, Janet Montgomery as Dr Lauren Bloom, Head of the Emergency Department; Freema Agyeman as Dr Helen Sharpe; Jocko Sims as Dr Floyd Reynolds; Tyler Labine as Dr Ignatius "Iggy" Frome, and Anupam Kher as Dr Vijay Kapoor.


M-Net Binge will host Season 3 of Entourage from June 4, 2020, at 01h30.

This racy, edgy Golden Globe-nominated series follows a film star Vince Chase (played by Adrian Grenier), his close circle of friends and his agent as they navigate the precarious terrain of Los Angeles and Hollywood.

Vince, Eric, Turtle and Johnny lead an adventure-filled, lavish life when Vince's film career takes off in LA. Among other challenges, they also deal with Vince's obnoxious but hardworking agent, Ari.

01:30 Entourage 03 0001 E18
02:00 Entourage 03 0002 E18
02:30 Entourage 03 0003 E18
03:00 Entourage 03 0004 E18
03:30 Entourage 03 0005 E18

Season 3
-Episodes 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11 (Friday 5 June 00h55, 01h25, 01h55, 02h25, 02h55 and 03h25)
-Episodes 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17 (Thursday 11 June 00h55, 01h25, 01h55, 02h25, 02h55 and 03h25)
-Episodes 18, 19 and 20 (Friday 12 June 00h55, 01h25 and 01h55)


Have you exhausted your bookshelves at home? Are you looking for some fresh and affordable books?

One of the ongoing projects of the Denis Hurley Centre is the Street Lit initiative, supported by the Booksellers of Mzanzi. A dozen men and women, all of whom were at one point homeless and are now living in shelters and hostels, earn a living through selling books donated to the project. Typically, they sold at events, concerts, public spaces, galleries and markets – which of course have not been operational during Lockdown.

To support them, a selection of the books on line for purchase has been put up on:

Delivery / collection of purchased books can be arranged.

“Similarly, if you know of any places where books can be sold, please let us know! We are looking for appropriate places for our vendors to set up, as many of our usual opportunities won’t be functional for a while! Please contact me for more information,” says Illa Thompson, who is handling the publicity for the project. Her email address is

Saturday, May 30, 2020


(Right: UKZN Alumni Lukhetho Mthethwa)

Centre for Jazz and Popular Music and iSupport Creative Business in proud association with Casio are once again presenting three musicians as part of their 9th online concert taking place on June 3, 2020. This week's edition will feature all-female jazz band Heels over Head, pianist Lukhetho Mthethwa and percussionist Ashish Joshi. All three artists will present the audience with a 20-minute set.

Mthethwa brings jazz with African and gospel influences. His music is a reflection of his journey, from his childhood influences to his current influences, one can hear the sounds from church to the African sounds and an influential jazz culture.

Raised in a township called Esikhawini; he inherited the passion for music from his dad, who was a choirmaster at a school. At the age of five, Mthethwa starting playing piano at his dad's church. His playing grew when he starting playing for community groups around his township and the school choir in his high school.

He studied music at the University of KwaZulu-Natal and has played with and produced albums for many professional musicians such as Ernie Smith, Swazi Dlamini, Tshepo Mngoma, Siphokazi, Nokukhanya Dlamini, Judith Sephuma, Ntokozo Mbambo, Nqubeko Mbatha, Mthunzi Namba, Jabu Hlongwane, Sibongile Khumalo and more. Currently, he is directing music for Gospel Goes Classical that features artists from all over the world, and he is the musical director for Gospel Time, a television show that plays on SABC2 every Sunday. Mthethwa is the artistic director and producer of the formidable gospel group Joyous Celebration.

(Left: Heels over Head)

Heels over Head is an all-female afro-jazz/pop band from Durban. The unique musical force was founded in 2008, by vocalist Thulile Zama. Their music refers to smooth jazz or easy-breezy pop-jazz and they developed an unusual and smart signature sound that consists of current African-influenced music and uniquely re-arranged standards. The band is known for making the audience get on their feet and dance to their rhythmic bass lines and their cheerful melodies.

Over the years, the sound of the band has grown tremendously in terms of dynamics, arrangements, compositions and performance while still staying true to all their original fans. Heels over Head has found their groove by creating a watertight sound that can be enjoyed by all who experience their music.

Some of the career highlights of the band are winning of the Yamaha Young Talent Award in 2010, launching their debut album Could It Be, that received a nomination for a South African Music Award in 2011 and their performance at the New Orleans Essence Festival.

(Right: Ashish Joshi)

Ashish Joshi began his musical training under the capable guidance of the much respected South African teacher Jeram Bhana. He underwent four years of training in the classical form of the art of percussion. At the same time, he continued to play at religious gatherings for his spiritual group Rishi (Ramakrishna Institute of Spirituality and Hinduism). When he was 17, he teamed up with Marc Duby, Greg Hadjiyorki Georgiades and Priyesh Bhana to perform in the eastern world music project Avaaz.

Two years on, he formed the duo Strings and Skins and released an album of the same name. This duo went on to perform stunning concerts around southern Africa and did some remarkable collaborations with rap-metal group Not My Dog, Tony Cox on his China album, as well as Madala Kunene and the DJ remix product Krushed and Sorted. Ashish has also accompanied various artists including Steve Newman, the late great bassist Gito Baloi, Neo Munyanga, Rob Watson and Barry van Zyl to name a few during his 16 years of performance. Ashish continued to dazzle audiences around southern Africa with his ever-growing percussive expression on the tabla, djembe, darbuka and dhol.

2006 and 2007 are busy years for Ashish featuring with Vivid Afrika who toured South Africa in 2006 and performed at the Cape Town International Jazz Festival 2007. Ashish is playing and recording with Greg Georgiades for their group Skins n' Skinz but also playing with Madala Kunene Greg, Ernest Mothle and Bernard Mndaweni for DVD releases. In November 2006 Ashish gathered a group of young classical Indian trained musicians for a recording and filming of the project PRIVATE STASH.

The minimum charge to watch the concert is R40 and tickets are available on Webtickets. The full contribution of the audience will go straight to the artists to support and sustain South Africa's beloved musicians through this testing time

Musicians can submit a video that is created especially for the concert, which is likely to be a solo performance or minimal ensemble in this period of social distance. You can also submit previously recorded videos that are not widely available on the internet, and are part of your archive.

Get your ticket on where you can also get a monthly concert pass and donate. You will receive your link before 18h00 and can watch at a convenient time.

Tickets R40 or more on donation – event passes for a full month available


(Pic by John Hogg)

The Virtual National Arts Festival programme is slowly starting to emerge – it has been cocooned away as the Curatorial Committee got to grips with reimagining what this festival could become. Now, just short of 30 days before ‘lift-off’, the organisers are leaning in to its complexities.

The Festival’s website is readying itself to become a virtual stage: all events will be accessed through the website portal – both curated work and un-selected ‘fringe’ events. The Curated Programme is a schedule of events that will be released each day from June 25 to July 5, 2020.

These daily programmes will consist of pre-recorded performances (theatre, music, dance), films, live broadcasts, visual art ‘walkabouts’, workshops, and more. These programmes have been carefully curated around a theme and the preamble to each day’s programme will provide the framework for that day’s offerings.

“The Virtual Fringe (vFringe) is a pay-per-view platform where anything goes! Well, almost. We will be carefully monitoring submissions to make sure they’re in line with universally accepted online presentation standards. But, that said, similarly to the Fringe in Makhanda, this is where you will find artists experimenting with their creative instincts – bending the rules to fit this new world. Here you’ll find comedy, performance art, cabaret, magic (of course) and lots more. Tickets will be priced from R25 and we hope you’ll support all our artists as they, together with you, explore this new digital space,” says the Curatorial Committee.

Read more about how it will all fit together on website:

Deadline for T-shirt designs: May 31 2020.

Online exhibitions open infinite possibilities

While there are many changes ahead as the National Arts Festival moves into the digital realm, visual art remains a constant on the programme. A wide-ranging and eclectic collection of works from South Africa and beyond will be available to view and explore online between 25 June and 5 July.

Using a variety of technologies, the curated programme of the Virtual National Arts Festival includes 2020 Standard Bank Young Artist for Visual Art Blessing Ngobeni; Pitika Ntuli’s solo exhibition Azibuyele Emasisweni (Return to the Source), which features works sculpted in bone; and Phumulani Ntuli’s Frequencies of a Birthmark_Episode 1, a Creative Digital Arts exhibition that explores clan name lineage and histories in a virtual reality architectural walkthrough. This is just a taste of the selection of works soon to be announced.

There will also be a vibrant visual art element on the vFringe this year, with artists invited to exhibit their work online on a new-look, multifunctional National Arts Festival website that is currently under wraps.
Win a R5,000 cash prize and an all-access pass to #VNAF2020 with your design for the Festival souvenir T-shirt.
Deadline extended to midnight May 31, 2020
Sign-up here to get the details.


Opportunities for artists

THE FRINGE IN 2020: Artists wishing to take part in the vFringe, a new digital platform created especially for artists to showcase their work as part of the Virtual National Arts Festival as well as earn an income online, should visit the Artist Zone on the NAF website for more information.

VISUAL ART ON THE vFRINGE: Visual artists who would like to exhibit their work on the new-look National Arts Festival website as part of the online vFringe galleries should get in touch as soon as possible. Find out the details and fill in the online form here:

MARKETING YOUR WORK ONLINE: You can make the work but then comes the marketing! To help you figure out how to get more clicks on your online show, we’ve assembled a squad of extraordinary marketers and strategists to give you the best advice for marketing online. Join National Arts Festival Communications Manager Sascha Polkey as she hosts a discussion on the best approaches to promote your work online. TODAY Friday May 29 at 14h00. Register here

VIRTUAL GREEN: Crafters, creators and resellers can pitch their digital stalls on our website walls. Find out more and apply to be part of it by filling in the online form here. We'll be hosting a webinar about participating in the online market next Friday June 5 at 14h00. Register here

(To link direct to the NAF site click on the large banner that runs across the top of this blog or visit or visit Facebook:; Twitter: @artsfestival or Instagram: nationalartsfestival)


(Right: Caroline Friedman)

Theatregoers missing their fix of live theatre will love Scenesaver- - a free new website that is a hub showing cutting edge performances from theatres all over the world.

“Our aim is to be a “Netflix” for performances in off West end, Off Broadway and fringe theatres from all over the world.” said Caroline Friedman who created Scenesaver.

“Scenesaver is completely free to use, viewers are asked to pay a voluntary “ticket price” donation and this money goes directly to the theatre companies.

“We include all genres of performance for all ages including children. There are dramas, magic, comedy, fringe performances as well as work in foreign languages. Scenesaver provides people with the opportunity to see the more unusual and innovative shows from all over the world.

We are reaching out to performers in Africa to give them the chance to earn some money and have their work seen by new audiences from all over the world. “

In coming months, Scenesaver will be showcasing new work being created by performers both in the UK and overseas.  Scenesaver is also the host website for a new set of theatre awards, the OnComms, created by Off West End theatre in response to the closure of theatres. It is a chance to see the work being created during the pandemic and to see new, emerging talent. Previous Off West End award winners include Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Rufus Norris, Ardal O’Hanlon and Arinze Kene.

Performers creating new online work during the pandemic can apply to be considered for an award.

For further details visit:
Twitter @scenesaver


“The Inn at Helsvlakte” is a creative tour de force. (Review by Moira Lovell, courtesy of The Witness)

The Inn at Helsvlakte is testimony to the singular imagination and meticulous craftsmanship of South African novelist, poet and anthologist, Patricia Schonstein. In its scope and detail, this, her seventh novel, is, quite simply, breathtaking.

In a reimagined nineteenth century South Africa, hostilities, begun some three generations before between the State and the Separatists, continue. The demands of the Separatists, khaki-clad and employing guerrilla tactics, are that the country should be divided, providing them with the Eastern Territories.

In an unprecedented move, a group of Separatists, mysteriously equipped with improved weaponry and kit, stages an ambush in the stark area of Helsvlakte, near Jonker’s Inn. A detachment of red-jacketed State soldiers, under the leadership of the renowned Captain Leander Malan, is annihilated, though the Captain himself, seriously wounded and facially disfigured, survives. So, too, does the military pastor, Lukas Grobler, who emerges from the carnage with his faith seriously shaken.

These men subsequently become permanent residents at Jonker’s Inn, which is situated on the Great North Road, four days ride from the Capital. They join Ariel Liebowitz, a former librarian who, a year before the Helsvlakte Ambush, relocated to the Inn following the devastating destruction of the State Library in the Capital by the authorities. A fourth individual, the eccentric William Blythe Morris, permanently unhinged after seeing the slaughtered men and beasts at Helsvlakte, also takes up residence.

The Inn is run by the hard-drinking, uncultivated Jakob Jonker, a number of servants, descendants of hunter-gatherers who formerly inhabited the area, and Katinka (Kitty) Cloete, a woman with numerous practical skills and a considerable range of talents, who is officially married to Jonker but has no intimacy with him. He has a lover; she has a past.

Katinka was raised at Cloete’s Halt, to the south of Jonker’s Inn, under the tyranny of a hypocritical father whose duplicity and lies damage her happiness and contribute significantly to the tragedy at the climax of the novel.

A player in that tragedy is the young Rigal van der Stel, who, having witnessed, at the age of twelve, the brutal killing of his family at the hands of drunken State soldiers, determines to seek revenge. He fixates on the person of Captain Leander Malan, the leader broken by the Helsvlakte Ambush, as the target of his vengeance and makes his way along the Great North Road to locate him at Jonker’s Inn.

The Helsvlakte Ambush is a cataclysmic event in a protracted civil war. It shocks and appals, altering the perceptions of individuals to war in particular and to the meaning of life in general. Leading up to and beyond this event, Schonstein assembles a large cast of characters and develops a narrative that both intrigues and compels. The Inn at Helsvlakte is a creative tour de force.

The Inn at Helsvlakte is published in paperback by Penguin Books. ISBN 9781485904168. Recommended Price R270. - Moira Lovell


(Left: Tony Cox)

Zimbabwean born guitarist Tony Cox is a guitarist, singer and composer that you do not want to miss. He performs online tonight (Saturday, May 30 at 20h00 for the UK and at 21h00 for South Africa).

This is his second online performance and he will play a completely different set to the first. Those of you who loved his first performance will hear a range of his songs and tunes covering his entire career as an exceptional guitarist and performer.

Cox's performance is donation based. If you wish to support this highly acclaimed artist, you can do so by donating directly to:

Time: May 30 at 21h00 SA time (20h00 UK time)

For more information visit:


Hosted by Megan Carelse and Helen Desbois, WAITING IN THE WINGS: The Live Concert tonight (May 30, 2020) aims to benefit #WaitingInTheWingsSA (providing grocery vouchers for events professionals and artists unable to work under lockdown).

Performers include Leote Taylor, Thiart Li, George Sax Entertainment and Music production - pty Ltd, SiAnne Wilkins, Pulane Rampoana, Lyla Faye, Tiaan Rautenbach, Eloise Clasen, Lucie Strike-Nakar, Sharon Spiegel-Wagner, Emmanuel Castis II, Donovan Yaards, Megan Carelse, Bruce Dennill Music, Boki Ntsime, Keeno Lee, Helen Desbois and Harry Sideropoulos.

Top-notch music, with slick video production by Lauge Sorensen. The organisers invite music lovers to join them and give if they can - every bit matters.

Time: 20h00 (CAT)

Friday, May 29, 2020


(Phumelele Nxumalo)

Newspaper journalist is the first of her nine siblings to achieve a tertiary qualification.

Having stayed at home for four years after completing her matric in 2012, with no secure employment or no way to further her studies, Phumelele Nxumalo did not stray from her path of achieving academic excellence.

The dynamic go-getter is the first from her nine siblings to achieve a tertiary qualification. Nxumalo from Izingolweni, outside Port Shepstone will obtain her National Diploma in Journalism at the Durban University of Technology’s (DUT’s) Virtual Graduation ceremony on Wednesday, June 10, 2020.

“I was at my weakest but as soon as an opportunity for me to further my studies presented itself, I never looked back. Every time when the going got tough, I would look back at that time in my life, when nothing was coming together and I would tell myself that, ‘giving up is not an option, you have come a long way to let this slip through your hands’. That kept me focused and moving forward,” said the ecstatic graduand.

Her achievement is a reflection of the fact that everyone’s timeline is different. “The key is to be kind to your journey and trust God's timing because it is never wrong, the worst thing one can do to themselves is to compare their journey to that of the next person,” she said.

She further relayed that being a student was challenging at times. For her, the toughest part was fearing that she would not complete her second year of study due to her bursary not having paid her allowances. “I went the whole of 2018 (my second year of study) without allowances and that meant that on some days I would miss lectures and struggle to print assignments for submission. But, despite all of that, I have always been determined to get my journalism qualification,” she said.

Growing up, Nxumalo lost her mother at the tender age of 10, so she has always been “daddy's little girl”. “To say that my father was proud of me when he heard that I would be the first of his nine children to obtain a University qualification would be an understatement. He was so looking forward to the occasion, so much so that he wanted to buy a brand new suit to wear on the day,” she chuckled.

To some extent, the idea of a virtual graduation did not sit well with her, as she was looking forward to walking up to the podium, in her graduation gown, to receive her qualification. “Not having a physical graduation has impacted me negatively. Every student looks forward to their graduation day, as it marks the achievement that comes with all the hard work and sleepless nights as a student. However, I understand the situation in hand and I am actually grateful that my institution is even planning this for us, in the midst of all the craziness brought upon by this pandemic,” said Nxumalo.

Speaking more on her choice of study, she said Journalism has always been close to her heart. “I believe that there are many stories to be told in our messed-up societies and it is our duty as 'the woke generation' to try and correct the injustices of the past by telling people's stories to the best of our abilities,” she stressed. Also, for her, the field that she absolutely loves in journalism is television. “I am a technical person and I love the technicalities that go into producing content for television,” she said.

However, as a journalist embarking into the field of journalism especially with the pandemic, Nxumalo said that with the pandemic she feels scared and uncertain. “The field of journalism had already been shrinking and now there is no telling what will happen to us who are still seeking an entry into the industry as media houses are already feeling the pinch of the pandemic,” she added.

Her advice to first-year students embarking in the journalism profession would be for them to focus on what sets them apart from the rest as this profession is continuously shrinking due to news now being consumed mostly from online platforms. They need to identify what they are good at as aspiring journalists and make sure that they become the best, rather than trying to juggle everything in journalism as that no longer works in the field of journalism.

In terms of what she would like to achieve in the field of journalism is to start an online magazine focusing on people in the rural areas. “People from rural areas have beautiful stories to be told and I feel that they are excluded from the mainstream media,” she said. Nxumalo plans to pursue a qualification in Logistics or Communications and Marketing thereafter. She completed her internship at Independent Media and got a chance to write for some of the mainstream newspapers, mainly Isolezwe.


(“Growing Old In ‘Black’ South Africa” is an interesting and sometimes humorous record of a life lived well. Review by Keith Millar)

Three years ago I reviewed Neville Herrington’s memoir Growing Up In White’ South Africa.

At the time I wrote that as Herrington’s story concentrated on the early part of his life, and that as - after the period written about - he went on to forge careers as a Radio Journalist, a University Lecturer, a City Councillor, a Playwright and Author as well as being the Director of his family’s award winning TV Production Company, we should expect an sequel.

Well, this is it, Growing Old In ‘Black’ South Africa  - the continuation of the Neville Herrington story, recounting all of his not insubstantial lifetime achievements listed above.

There is a well-known quotation of uncertain origin which says, “May you live in interesting times” (sometimes considered to be a curse). Well, there can be little doubt that Herrington has lived in interesting times.

His story starts in 1964, a time when the National Party government with its apartheid policies was firmly entrenched in South Africa and progresses through some rather turbulent times in the country, all the way to 2019, by which time the African National Congress is equally entrenched as the government of the country.

Herrington’s story is, however, a far more personal account of events than just a political dissertation. His life was obviously influenced by the events happening in the country and he was, after all, an opposition councillor in Durban for eight years.

Also the political events offer an interesting backdrop to his story, particularly for readers who shared these experiences.

Herrington comes across as an amiable, good-humoured person. This much is apparent in his writing. He also displays sensitivity and spirituality. However, his style can at times can be a bit ponderous and academic.

This was a bit of a trial with Growing up In ‘White’ South Africa which ran to over 600 pages, but not so daunting with this book which is only 270 pages. I was also not a fan of the third person, fantasy, mode, he reverts to when describing his stay in hospital for surgery, and his strange dream narrative when pontificating on the mistakes the ANC government has made in the country.

Growing Old In ‘Black’ South Africa is an interesting and sometimes humorous record of a life lived well.

Growing Old In ‘Black’ South Africa is published by Tekweni Media. The ISBN No. is 978-0-9946692-9-2. To order a copy phone 031 261 1034 or email – Keith Millar

Wednesday, May 27, 2020


(Debra Batzofin)

The ultimate guide to running a theatre by Debra Batzofin.

Commissioned some years ago by the Market Theatre CEO, Ismail Mahomed, to write a book to assist students, Debra could not be happier that she has come full circle with the book now being available to all students via the Market Theatre website at no cost.

Managing a theatre can be a daunting prospect. Budgets, contracts, staff, technical equipment, marketing, maintenance, ticketing … the list goes on. And that is not even mentioning the creative egos!

Fortunately, help is at hand. Debra Batzofin, a seasoned theatre manager and administrator with 46 years’ experience in the South African and international entertainment industry, has written an indispensable guide to operating a venue.

Titled Beginners on Stage …. Ask Miss B, this industry handbook concisely sets out all you need to know about managing a theatre. From legalities and labour issues to the nuts and bolts of dealing with outside producers, Batzofin covers it all.

Far from being a staid handbook, it includes useful practical examples supplemented by friendly advice drawn from her many years of working in all aspects of the performing arts. Beginners on Stage …. Ask Miss B is an essential tool to help newcomers (and even professionals) navigate the minefield of theatre management with success and confidence.

Batzofin has been General Manager for Trevor Noah: There’s a Gupta on my Stoep, John Edward, international psychic medium, Winnie the Opera, Saturday Night Fever and Hairspray. She was the producer for Road to MAMA, MTV, NickFest for Nickelodeon, Comedy Central international Comedy Festival, The Loeries international DStv Seminar of Creativity, to name but a few.

She now adds a new string to her bow with the management of Loyiso Madinga, an internationally acclaimed and award-winning comedian.

Since starting her theatre career in 1973, Batzofin has worked with top managements in all aspects of theatre, film and television. In 1983 she joined forces with Richard Loring to form one of the most successful independent theatre companies in South Africa. Career highlights with Richard Loring include a Persian Gulf tour of A Touch of Webber – A Taste of Rice and the Royal Command Performance of Girl Talk in Malaysia. At the Sound Stage, Debbie co-directed Girl Talk – Nite Out and Yellow Brick Road for which she received a Vita nomination. African Footprint highlights as Associate Producer and Company/Tour Manager: Millennium Night on Robben Island; 2000 Royal Command Performance at St James’ Palace, London; and Monte Carlo Sporting Club’s 30th Anniversary performance. She joined Gold Reef City’s team which built both the Globe Theatre and Lyric Theatre and she headed up the Lyric Theatre team for three years. Most recent events include: Global Citizens Concert, South Africa and taking African Footprint to Dubai Global Village for a one-month season.

For further information contact Lusanda Zokufa, Market Theatre Senior Publicist, on 072 367 7867 or email: or visit