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Tuesday, August 20, 2019

UMONGO WEDOLOBHA: THE MARROW OF THE CITY


(Left: Russel Hlongwane)

Emerging from the Creative Producers International programme run by Bristol based Watershed, is the project Umongo wedolobha, loosely translated to The Marrow of the City.

The project looks to insert a history of early black migrant workers in the city of Durban. The project uses the ideas of the flaneur (or the drifter), deep mapping, psychogeography, and cartography, whilst placing these alongside the experiences and histories of black bodies who traversed the city under apartheid and colonialism. Umongo wedolobha therefore connect the memories of this generation with the present generation of urban practitioners who place-make in the same city, although under a different dispensation. The project questions how black bodies have existed in the city, and how they occupy and influence space in a contemporary society. Part of the aim of the project is to create a vocabulary of urban praxis outside of the established academic modalities of urban discourse. This work will culminate in a structure installation at the Durban Workshop Amphitheatre.

The project is conceived and led by Durban based cultural producer, Russel Hlongwane, with the support of Mary-Anne McAllister. The project is made possible by Watershed under the Playable Cities programme, as well as a list of secondary partners such as Arts Council England, Lagos Urban Network British Council, University of West England, Royal Shakespeare Company, Rhizomatiks, Somerset House, and Laboratorio Para La Cuidad. 

The project was installed on August 10, 2019, and was preceded by a number of preliminary interventions. These included a performance lecture in the Architecture Department of the Durban University of Technology, a series of ‘epistemic walks’ in the city centre with Hlongwane, and a screening of a film about black labour under apartheid South Africa.

Hlongwane is a cultural producer and creative industries consultant based in Durban, South Africa. His work is located at the intersection of Heritage/Modernity and Culture/Tradition, as it applies to various disciplines of artistic practice. His said practice includes cultural research, creative producing, design, curatorship, and the creative economy.

He is part of a number of collectives, working groups, and programmes spread across the SADC region, the continent, and global community. Hlongwane operates as a curator, writer, producer, researcher, theorist, and consultant. His work has been showcased in Munich, Marrakech, London, Maputo, Karlsruhe, Harare, Bristol, Tokyo, and South Africa.

(Mary-Anne McAllister)

Mary-Anne McAllister is an artist, curator, and producer living in Durban. She has recently been involved in various creative projects producing and collaborating with local creative people. McAllister curated and organised the Alter Egos Illustrative exhibition at Open Plan Studio for First Thursdays Station Drive in 2019. She curated the African Art Centre’s shop and First Thursday Sale Exhibition in March.

McAllister was assistant curator and exhibiting artist at Fixations, Obsessions & Preoccupations in 2015 at The Rickshaw in Durban. She edited Avi Sooful’s video work for Between Democracies, 1989-2014: Commemoration and Memory, which was exhibited at Constitution Hill. McAllister has participated in various group exhibitions, which include Abxiom (2015), Parabilis (2017), Revolutionary Ink Exhibition (2017), For Sale Group Exhibition (2017) and The Collective (2019).

For more information contact Niamh Walsh-Vorster on 083 716 3827 or niamhwv@gmail.com

BLINDED BY THE LIGHT


(Viveik Kalra)

Director Gurinder Chadha, best known for her charming social comedy, Bend It Like Beckham, has produced another winning British-Asian film with a superstar for inspiration – but this time it’s “The Boss”. (8/10) Reviewed by Patrick Compton

Imagine being a working-class Muslim teenager in a traditional family in down-at-heel Luton during the often brutal Thatcher years (the 1980s), harassed by the National Front on the streets, the economic depression in the workplace and a general lack of hope that you’ll ever be able to realise your dreams.

Adapted from Sarfraz Manzoor’s memoir, Greetings from Bury Park, this movie is about a bullied, insecure second generation youngster who becomes inspired by the music of Bruce Springsteen. A budding writer, 16-year-old Javed (an excellent performance from Viveik Kalra) lacks confidence and feels that his repressive father (Kulvinder Ghir) will never give him the freedom he so desperately needs to “find himself”.

Then, an encouraging English teacher and the music of Springsteen combine to show Javed that he need not despair, that he can widen his horizons and become the person he wants to be, a writer.

The result is a feel-good drama that verges on the corny at times, particularly in some of the early musical sequences, but wins our hearts in the end as Javed eventually finds light at the end of the Thatcherite tunnel – even if he is occasionally blinded by it.

Chadha has created a film that accurately mirrors the complexities of British society, where many of the people are neither wholly Asian, nor wholly British. As Chadha herself says, “I’m British but ...”

The period detail is well documented, down to the mullets and the music of the Pet Shop Boys, while the tensions in Javed’s household are only too believable.

Set to the thrilling music of Springsteen, this is a film that should certainly attract multicultural audiences in Britain and the United States – and hopefully in South Africa as well.

Blinded by the Light is currently showing in Durban. – Patrick Compton

HILTON FESTIVAL CHILDREN’S PROGRAMME


(The King of Broken Things)

There is a little venue at the Hilton Arts Festival with a whole heap of magic going on for all children under the age of 95!

Be sure to be a part of the world created by a team of magical theatre makers from Durban:  Michael Taylor-Broderick, Bryan Hiles, Cara Roberts and Straw Nzimande. Nobody is too old or too young to be there and there are five different wonderful stories to be a part of.

Theatresmiths present The King of Broken Things, The Forgotten Years of Donald K Pumkin and The Place of Small Miracles.

The world does its best to break everyone and everything, but afterwards, most things are stronger in their broken places. The King of Broken Things is an adventurous and magical excursion into the rehabilitation of broken and discarded objects, hearts included. This bittersweet journey, viewed through the unfiltered mind of a child, wise beyond his years, will, whether you’re 7 or 87, rehabilitates every heart. An ingenious mix of old school theatre magic and modern technology brings this enchanting tale to life in the most endearing way imaginable.

(The Forgotten Years of Donald K Pumkin)

Join Donald K. Pumkin, reluctant philosopher and a genuine 21st century Don Quixote, as he journeys through his lost and forgotten years while attempting to sell you a vacuum cleaner. 

The Forgotten Years of  Donald K Pumkin is a story that reveals how important it is bravely to obey your heart, fearlessly to pursue your dreams, in a world that prefers the normal, predictable ones over the romantics. How missing your calling in life is far more hazardous than missing the school bus...

Between the wild things and the big yellow-faced moon there are happenings beyond our loftiest dreams. They say that The Place of Small Miracles lies somewhere between 37 degrees North and 43 degrees South and for those that seek it, there is the promise that magic exists under every footfall, all you need is a map, a mountain range and a piggy-bank. 

 (The Place of Small Miracles)

Mysterious lands and infinite imaginings await those who dare to climb through the fences of their perception. Join the Theatresmiths on their expedition to find The Place of Small Miracles, they promise that with the help of puppetry, theatrics and clever trickery they will bring you safely back home.

Beware Hilton! There is a grumpy old grandpa on the loose! Grandpa Grump has lost his imagination! Join him on his mammoth quest to find it again and become SUPERGRUMP! He must rescue the rag doll, Molly; a special surprise for his granddaughter on her 6th birthday. To do so, he must face the many challenges that lie waiting in his Junkshop. Meet the terrifying Dustbin Monster, the nutty Cuckoo in the Cuckoo Clock, take a trip to the moon and back and appease the Smelly Sock Snake before scaring away the enormous and frightening Broomstick Dragon! 

(Grandpa Grump and the Magical Junkshop)

Written by Neil Coppen, directed by Bryan Hiles and starring Straw Nzimande, Grandpa Grump and the Magical Junkshop is the perfect festival delight for children of all ages, 4 to 400!

Based on an old Russian folk tale, a little old man (grumpy old geezer!) and a little old woman (nagging old bat!) hate the sight of each other!

One day the little old man determines to grow the largest turnip in the world to prove he is the best gardener ever! The Old Geezer and the Old Bat must then set about trying to pull it out of the ground. Hilarity ensues as they, with the help of the audience, finally learn to work together.

 
With aspects of mime, mask, Commedia del’ Arte and warped imagination, this tale will take you into the depths of the deep, dark woods and back!

 (The Great Big Enormous Turnip)

The Great Big Enormous Turnip is a 45-minute romp through said woods and warped minds, written by Peter Court of Creative Madness and co-directed by him and Bryan Hiles who have delighted audiences with other stories such as A Froggy Fairytale, Rumpelstiltskin and A Mariner’s Tale. Performed by Bryan Hiles and Cara Roberts. Suitable for kids aged 3 to 12!


The Hilton Arts Festival, now in its 27th year, takes place from September 13 to 15, 2019. 

The full programme can be found at www.hiltonfestival.co.za

The Hilton Arts Festival is presented by Hilton College and tiso black star in association with: Grindrod Bank , Black Coffee Design, Extreme Events, DWR , ABSA, Bidvest Car Rental, KZN Dept of Arts & Culture , FNB, Stella Artois, BASA, Southern Sun PMB, Redlands Hotel, Maritzburg Sun, the Caxton Group, SA Artist, Loud Crowd Media and Sappi.

JOMBA! FREE DANCE & CHOREOGRAPHIC WORKSHOPS


The JOMBA! Contemporary Dance Experience hosted by the Centre for Creative Arts (UKZN) offers an array of free dance and choreographic workshops during the 12 day feast of dance in it 21st edition, which takes place a various venues in Durban from August 27 to September 8, 2019.

August 28:
Workshop facilitators: Sifiso Kweyama and the JAZZART dancers
16h00 to 17h40: KwaMashu Sports Hall - youth dance workshop (ages 8 upwards)
16h30 to 18h00: UKZN Dance Studio - Jazzart Dance Theatre will offer an African contemporary dance experience by exploring the use of weight, defying gravity and allowing all participants to contribute choreographically to a final combination.  All abilities and levels welcome but only for those over 16 years.

August 29
09h00 to 13h00: Playhouse - Studio 410
Workshop facilitator: Sifiso Kweyama (JAZZART Dance Theatre)
This four hour intensive masterclass is for semi-professional and professional dancers only and is a rare opportunity to engage the training and style of JAZART with one of South Africa’s best contemporary dance teachers.

August 31:
10h00 to 12noon: UKZN Dance Studio
Workshop facilitator: Fana Tshabalala
In an exploration of a growing style that accesses ritual and contemporary dance technique, Tshabalala will take participants on a journey of artistically connecting with themselves and their own growing style as dancers and choreographers. All abilities and levels welcome but only for those over 16 years.

September 1:
10h00 to 12noon: UKZN Dance Studio
Workshop facilitator: Leslie Scott (New Orleans – USA)
Throughout this class, dancers will investigate the articulation of the arms, legs, and torso in order to integrate the whole body in motion. Scott’s approach to movement is through dynamic energy rather than static forms, and she constantly plays with traditional placement and wild abandonment. Scott believes dancing is a communal experience and together participants will sweat, groove, and let loose.  All abilities and levels welcome but only for those over 16 years

September 5:
16h30 to 18h30: UKZN Dance Studio
Workshop facilitator: Dakshina/Daniel Phoenix Dance Company (Washington – USA)
In this workshop participants will gain an understanding of our signature hybrid work (traditional Bharatanatyam and Contemporary dance technique) through interactive experiences that highlight elements of choreography, improvisation, creativity and collaboration. All abilities and levels welcome but only for those over 16 years.

September 6:
16h30 to 18h30: UKZN Dance Studio
Workshop facilitator: Vincent Sekwati Mantsoe In a physically intense workshop that explore the lexicon of dance styles and techniques that make up Mantsoe’s signature style, participants of this workshop will get an up close and personal experience with the legendary Mantsoe. This workshop is not for beginners – and only those over 16 years.

To book a place in these workshops, e-mail jombafestival@gmail.com at least two days in advance of the workshop

For more information go to http://jomba.ukzn.ac.za/