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Sunday, October 1, 2017


(Themi Venturas)

(Pascar Dube worked at The Playhouse Company before moving to Johannesburg)

Paying a special tribute to the great Themi Venturas

Ventura Name Meaning. Italian, Spanish, Catalan, Portuguese, and Jewish (Sephardic): from a medieval personal name, a short form of Bonaventura or Buenaventura, meaning 'good fortune'

As per the abovementioned definition from Google, I have no doubt that Themi Venturas was nothing but "good fortune" with doubled fortunes since there is an S added on his surname Venturas and to many of us who have known, interacted and worked with him. For the past week I have been observing the outpouring messages of gratitude, love and support from many artists around the country through different media platforms.

I first met Themi in the early 2000s when I was still a drama student at Durban University of Technology. Themi happened to be around the campus during the time where, as drama students, we're fighting to remain at the Courtyard Theatre and not to be moved to City Campus as the university management was planning at the time. He was just a guest lecturer, but he showed great interest and support to students as he encouraged us of tyotyoying but without damaging property.

I met him again during my freelancing days with Siwela Sonke Dance Theatre and with the former Fantastic Flying Fish Dance Company. He would always be amongst the audiences whenever I was performing. I remember on the opening night of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat where I had a role as one of the brothers, at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre in late 2003. He came to me, congratulated me with that funny look and he said to me "I am sure you enjoy giving Debbie (Prof. Debbie Lutge) a headache since you always doing outside work while you're still a student...” I laughed and he continued saying " tell me what can't you do, you're a stage manager, dancer, singer, actor admin you're a Mix-jam Pascar" meaning i was jack of all trades. I laughed again and my response was: "Well Themi I guess that makes two of us" and he burst into laughter nodding his head. I can never finish talking of fond memories about Themi. Even when I was working at the Playhouse he will always have something funny yet constructive to say whenever we bumped into each other.

Themi has been a fortune to our industry in many ways as he was an all-rounder (Mix-jam) as he would call me. He has worked tirelessly for Durban arts and artists to make it into national and international stages through PANSA and Catalina Theatre initiatives and in many other ways... We have lost a theatre Giant, a theatre Guru and theatre Isithwalandwe ("the one who wears the plumes of the rare bird") as the African National Congress will describe its best leaders.

It is with great sadness that I won't be able to be in Durban physically with other artists to pay my last respect to this legend. To his wife and kids, my fellow art community of Durban at large, please accept my sincere sympathy... Hamba kahle Themi Venturas uyibekile induku ebandla!!!

Pascar Racsap Dube