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Monday, October 14, 2013


(Karabo Maithufi. Pic by Val Adamson)

The dance world is mourning the passing of Karabo Maithufi who died last weekend.

He died from pneumonia, having fallen ill two weeks previously. He was admitted into high care because his lungs were filled with fluids that had to be drained. He got better and was discharged. Two days later, he started the day off in good spirits but by the afternoon his condition had worsened and he was taken back to hospital. He passed away that Saturday evening (October 5) around 18h00.

Maithufi was Johannesburg-based but he was a founder member of the Playhouse Dance Residency, now KZN Dance Theatre. He came to Durban to perform in Cinderella in 2011 and then returned to be part of the Residency. He performed in their first production, worlds apart, that was presented at the Playhouse Company’s South African Women’s Arts Festival 2012. He went back to Johannesburg after that season.

(The following is taken from the Mama Mia website):

“Born and raised in the North West Province, he found his way to dance at the age of ten, after tagging along with his cousin Tebogo Kgobokoe (national and world acclaimed Ballroom and Latin American dancer) to her rehearsals.

He trained with English trainers Anne Lingard, Brian Watson, Karen Hardy and his cousin Tebogo. He became the undefeated South African Latin American Champion after winning all major titles in South Africa. He also represented South Africa at major international championships with good result. He furthered his training in the United States majoring in Modern, Jazz and Ballet specializing in the Graham and Horton technique.

Upon his return to South Africa, he joined the North West Arts Dance Company. Thereafter he performed in Sun City’s Extravaganza Pulse; Grand West’s Expose and Grease, a stadium spectacular; Pouncival in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s CATS (South Africa and International 3-year tour); Pieter Toerien’s Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat; Real Concert’s Red; Janice Honeyman’s pantomime, Aladdin; Packed House’s original South African musical Soweto Story; Hairspray and Groovy Nights.

Karabo made his theatrical choreographic debut in 2009 with the musical revue African Queens paying homage to the singers who through their music changed the face of South Africa. Karabo received a Naledi Nomination for this choreography.

Karabo rejoined the cast of Cats, recently playing the role of Skimbleshanks and is excited to be playing Pepper in Mamma Mia.”

“I cannot believe the terribly sad news of the passing of Karabo Maithufi,” says choreographer Mark Hawkins. “He was in Unforgettable in the Playhouse Opera designed by Dicky Longhurst and working with Gina Shmukler. He was a remarkable being and so giving of his talent always ... over all the years that I have known him. May his beautiful soul rest peacefully and be an inspiration wherever he is!”

“I have been thinking about first meeting Karabo during Unforgettable rehearsals at The Playhouse and the beautiful times shared,” adds Gina Shmukler. “Cruel this world of ours. RIP K. May your soul find its place of resting.”