national Arts Festival Banner

Sunday, February 14, 2021


(Musa Hlatshwayo. Pic by Val Adamson)

In day 11 of Publicity Matters’ Love the Arts feature, they chat to Musa Hlatshwayo - choreographer and dancer extraordinaire. He has performed in many conventional and non-conventional spaces, he has toured through a few states in America, extensively though the UK and Africa and says he has most enjoyed performing in Africa. He rarely looks at art platforms as favourites, saying that it is really impractical and unfair to compare. But he does like the concept behind the Dance Biennale in Africa festival, how it was conceptualised and run by African artists and practitioners.

Asked if he could perform anywhere, where would it be, “It would be at my grandmother's hut, with her. Sadly, we lost her about two years ago.”

What do you most love about performing?

It's the platform it provides you to express yourself and immediately plug into your audience's response. The ability to tap into someone's emotional response and journey with them on this imaginative, creative moment where souls intertwine, where minds reimagine, recreate rethink magic. It's the magic of energies conversing right in the moment. That is magical.

When was your last live performance?

As a choreographer, the last live performance that I provided was in March. Abomhlaba(Thi) was part of the Rerouting Arts Festival in Pietermaritzburg. (Thanks to funding from African Culture Fund). The work featured three of my dancers; Snethemba Khuzwayo, Aphelele Nyawose and Njabulo Zungu. As a dancer, during the making of the three works I created in collaboration with three poets as part of Poetry Africa under the programme; Digging; the fluidity of language.'

What is your wish for 2021?

To stay alive with enough life and creativity to keep expressing myself in more colourful and creative ways. For artists to find ways to reinvent themselves and the industry while defying the odds of marginalisation and all things that continue suffocating us and our industry. For the end of all that continues suffocating and killing us.

Musa was part of the Denis Hurley Centre AGM on February 13, 2021.

The Denis Hurley Centre has been one of the organisations we have enjoyed partnering with. They provide a lovely environment and space for artists like my company to access some of their facility i.e. space, which brings us closer to the centre of the town where we are able to create and research a lot more fruitfully. We have, in return, continued to enjoy assisting the Centre with some of their programmes by bringing that artistic element. We are hoping to continue with that partnership post-Covid and hopefully implement some the programmes that we have always planned for the Denis Hurley Centre community.

What I am most interested in these days is what the arts community are doing to try and rise above the current challenges that we are all facing. I have been involved with Im4theArts as well as STAND; both of them are newly-formed entities that seek to contribute to the lives of many artists and the industry at large. I applaud the work that has been done thus far and do urge more artists to engage with these organisations. I have also successfully providing work for many actors through my agency work with some Durban's tv programmes i.e. Imbewu and Durban Gen. But I have also responded to the many requests and queries I receive about my costumes and items that I use in my work by creating a range of Izimbadada (tyre sandals) which I made to orders and sell them at a very affordable price. I continue to be inspired by the stories of many artists who continue to reinvent themselves thrive during this difficult time. I empathise with the many that continue suffering the consequences of the pandemic and the instability of our industry and I encourage them to do what they can to stay safe, sane and alive.

Musa hosted the section which acknowledged the artists who have supported the DHC last year, and encourages DHC supporters to support the artists too. All information can be found at: