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Sunday, April 3, 2016


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(Gcina Mhlophe)

In celebration of Africa Month, social cohesion and unity in diversity, The Playhouse Company is staging Africa Celebrates, a weekend of visual and performing arts from the diaspora on May 6 and 7.

On the programme is The Social Exchange, an opportunity for various groups to show others in the industry what goes into making their medium, be it music, dance, arts education or acting. Performers and practitioners from all areas of the performing arts field will exchange ideas and get to try their hand at different media.

Led by Dr Gcina Mhlophe, arguably South Africa’s foremost storyteller, The Art of African Storytelling Explained will see expert storytellers from various different cultures demonstrate their storytelling abilities and explain what it is that makes their brand of storytelling unique. Audiences will be encouraged to share their storytelling heritages, and the facilitator will explain the origins of storytelling and the variations that exist within Africa. The event will end with a prepared story from each of the speakers, and a question and answer session.

Also on the programme is a live poetry/graffiti performance led by Ewok (Iain Robinson) in which poets will perform some of the great African poetry, while graffiti artists put visuals to the words.

Some of South Africa’s foremost performers will feature in a spectacular Africa Celebrates Concert on May 7 in the majestic Playhouse Opera. This production will feature top-notch performers such as the Mahotella Queens, Tresor Rasiki (originally from the DRC, but now resident in Durban), Simphiwe Dana, DJ Happy Girl, the Burundian Drummers, Ikusasa Elihle (female Zulu dancers from Pietermaritzburg), and will be directed by Aubrey Sekhabi, with musical direction by Victor Masondo. The Concert will also honour Living Legends Dorothy Masuka, Abigail Kubheka, Dr Joseph Shabalala, Samson Mazibuko, Dr Don Mattera, and Theo Bophela. The MCs for the Concert will be Unathi Msengana and Alex Mthiyane.

Simphiwe Shembe and friends will provide hilarity for audiences with the Africa Celebrates Comedy Show in the Playhouse Drama Theatre.

Two exhibitions will form part of the weekend celebrations: an exhibition of ceramics, jewellery, wire work, bead work, and other decorative items will be curated by the African Arts Centre, while the Durban Art Gallery will be curating an exhibition of Africa-themed pieces from its vast collections