national Arts Festival Banner

Saturday, September 27, 2014


(Lihle Dhlomo in her two roles)

(Review from the artSMart team covering the 2014 Witness Hilton Arts Festival which ran at Hilton College from September 19 to 21)

Lihle Dhlomo gives excellent and consistent performance in both male and female roles. (Review by Caroline Smart)

Lihle Dhlomo is one of Durban’s most highly talented exports to Johannesburg. A skilled actress she is comfortable in drama and comedy, has appeared in film and recently directed Menzi Mkhwane’s Last Cow Standing. She received the award for Best Newcomer Female at the 2012 Mercury Durban Theatre Awards for her performance in Neil Coppen’s Abnormal Loads.

This meant she was a “must” on my Hilton Festival review list. Adding to her impressive CV, she has teamed up with another multi-award winning Durbanite, Wiseman Mncube, to perform in his one-woman play of the intriguing title Giving Birth to My Father which won a coveted Standard Bank Ovation Award at the 2014 National Arts Festival.

The story deals with Nomatemba, a young girl looking for her father. However, in her search, she attacks and kills a man who tries to rape her. We meet her 18 years later, clad in orange prison overalls, rocking backwards and forwards in her cell. It’s not despair that engulfs her but uncertainty and fear. She’s soon to be released but she can’t sleep and can’t rejoice. Into what kind of world will she return? Better to stay within her own world, she feels - one she understands.

Into the story comes an unknown man (also played by Dhlomo, dressed in a suit which has been hidden under the overalls) and we are intrigued to find out who he is and what he is doing.

The compelling script demands all of Dhlomo’s versatility and she gives an excellent and consistent performance in both the male and female roles. However, I do believe the story would benefit by a wrapping up by a third character - again stretching Dhlomo’s undeniable capacity. I found the story a bit convoluted and would have liked the closure to have more clarity.

Giving Birth to My Father is written and directed by Wiseman Mncube and mentored by Roel Twijnstra. It is supported by the KZN Department of Arts & Culture. – Caroline Smart