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Tuesday, June 25, 2019


(“Angola: Camp 13”. Copyright Sanmari Marais)

The dance production Amawethu- along with Artdiction exhibition and the performance art piece Xova - joins musicals Qina and Angola: Camp 13 on the list of works that will be presented by the South African State Theatre at this year’s National Arts Festival in Makhanda.

All productions, except Amawethu, were promoted from the theatre’s Incubator programme- which is a development programme aimed at preparing semi-professional artists for the mainstream industry. The State Theatre prides itself in opening doors of theatre to young people to showcase their talent and tell stories. It remains committed in its project of unleashing young cadres of artists to carry the baton into the future.

Featured in the Main Programme, award-winning musical Angola: Camp 13 written and directed by Sello Maseko celebrates names of struggle veterans that never made it to historical books. This is a story of our people who did not return from the camps. It exposes corruption, greed, betrayal, and sacrifices that took place in the camps. The musical won awards for Best Script, Best Male Performer (Soyiso Ndaba) and Best Stage Manager (late Sibusiso Khwinana) at the Incubator Trade Fair held at The Market Theatre last year. Angola will show at Rhodes Theatre, July 1-3 in Makhanda, before returning to The State Theatre on July 10 to August 4, 2019.

The self-taught smoke artist Anathi Nkanyuza, affectionately known as Elpee, burst the newsfeed with his rare visual art technique when he exhibited at the theatre last year. Using only a candle and paraffin lamp, he applies fire and smoke on paper to turn pieces of colour into something the world has never seen before. His installations feature a series of self-portraits which depict his love for art on how it impacts his life negatively and positively. His exhibition, Artdiction showcases July 1-7 at The Norman Catherine Room in Makhanda.

Xova, written and directed by Joseph Komani, will star actresses Zimkhita Kumabaca and Zimkhita Nyoka who both lead the cast that will be performing at the NAF from July 2 to 6 in Victoria Theatre. Xova’s festival participation precedes a season run at The State Theatre in August. Xova - “Ukuxova,” a Xhosa word which means to prepare the dough - is a metaphor for the process of raising a child. The endured hardships of solo parenthood and father absenteeism are brought to stage for examination.

(Right: “Qina”. Copyright Sanmari Marais)

Having completed its three weeks run at The State theatre on Sunday, Qina (Zulu/ Xhosa word meaning ‘be strong’) is geared to showcase in Makhanda, Victoria Theatre, from July 2 to 6. The musical by Given Wiseman Chauke is based on the depression suffered by the youth in our society today. Backed by afro sounds and thrilling choreography, it delves into stories of young people living in big cities trying to pursue their dreams but struggle to fit in or keep up with the uptown life.

Amawethu tells a human story that seeks to rectify or, rather, to reclaim who we are as a people from our culture and customs – and to correct the distortions that pre-date the African slave trade that led us to believe that African spirituality had a demonic, pagan, uncivilized, barbaric and godless origin. Conceived, choreographed and directed by Luyanda Sidiya, assisted by Phumlani Nyanga, the piece aims to create a system for the black child to appreciate and learn more about who they are. As a revival of sorts, Amawethu seeks to enact the wealth of character long lost in our customs and way of life. Amawethu is at the Great Hall, July 5-7. Back at State Theatre, it will show from July 17 to 28.

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