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Monday, July 29, 2019


(Dawn Thandeka King will host the concert)

A rich sampling of some of South Africa’s most acclaimed traditional musicians has been confirmed for what is poised to be an exciting highlight of the 23rd South African Women’s Arts Festival (SAWAF).

The festival, which runs at Durban’s Playhouse complex from Wednesday to Saturday, August 7 to 10, 2019, is presented annually by The Playhouse Company, an agency of the Department of Arts and Culture, which embraces the principles of social cohesion and nation-building.

A diverse spectacle of drama, dance, topical discussions and craft has been assembled for the 2019 event, at which the showcase music treat will be the Traditional Extravaganza Concert, to be presented on August 9, in the Playhouse Opera.

Hosting the Traditional Extravaganza Concert will be Dawn Thandeka King, a motivational speaker, MC, spiritual healer, indigenous musician and a popular actress noted as a star of TV’s Lockdown and one of the courtyarder nominees for Best Actress in Uzalo.

Directed by award-winning Durban theatre personality Clare Mortimer, this concert will highlight such glittering talents as celebrated singer-actress and musician Tu Nokwe; internationally renowned and award-winning African “Queen of Ndebele” music, Dr Nothembi Mkhwebane; popular maskandi groups Vumile Mngoma and Izingane Zoma.

(Left: Tu Nokwe)

Raised in KwaMashu, Durban, and influenced in her younger years by acclaimed musician Bheki Mseleku, Tu Nokwe is the daughter of noted jazz musician Alfred Nokwe and singer-actress Patty Nokwe.

Tu is as much renowned for her music as she is for acting, her work having included performing in the plays Sheila’s Day and Singing the Times, the latter being the biography of her mother’s life, which Tu wrote. She is also remembered as Shaka’s wife in Bill Faure’s globally acclaimed, landmark South African mini-series, Shaka Zulu. An original member of the group Black Angels, Tu Nokwe formed the Amajika Youth Project, which taught children music, dance and drama. She studied music at the Manhattan School of Music in New York and has a number of albums to her credit.

(Right: Nothembi Mkhwebane)

Dr Nothembi Mkhwebane, an expert in Ndebele music and skilled on a number of traditional instruments, started composing in the late 1970s. In 1980 she formed a group called Nothembi Nezelamani Zakonomazyana which entertained at cultural gatherings and weddings, and her musical career flourished from then.

Not a stranger to Playhouse Company stages, she has performed in America, Austria, Germany, France and India. She has an honorary doctorate degree in Literature, Philosophy, Musicology and Poetry from The Good Shepard College in KwaZulu-Natal and also has The Order of Princess Magogo Award.

The concert’s director, Clare Mortimer, has starred in and directed a wide variety range of productions, including many Shakespearean plays aimed at school audiences. As an actress, she has starred in such diverse productions as A Voice I Cannot Silence, Wit, Master Class and The BFG.

The Traditional Extravaganza Concert will be presented at 19h00 on August 9, in the Playhouse Opera. Tickets range from R120 to R150 and can be bought at the Playhouse box-office – phone 031 3699 596/40 – or online and at Pick N Pay outlets via WebTickets (the customer support line is 086 111 0005).