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Thursday, August 4, 2022


(Lynda Bukhosini:  Playhouse Company’s Chief Executive & Artistic Director)

The Playhouse Company, an Agency of the Department of Sports, Arts and Culture, celebrates its annual SA Women’s Arts Festival in Durban’s Playhouse complex between August 2 and 13, 2022. Featuring a stellar roster of cultural icons, this lynchpin event on the county’s Women’s Month calendar has long been one of the flagships of the Company’s yearly Arts Plan.

“Over the years, our role in underlining the great value women bring to bear on all aspects of South Africa’s national life has become one which we cherish with pride,” says Lynda Bukhosini, Playhouse Company’s Chief Executive and Artistic Director. “This year, we have once again curated a programme for our SA Women’s Arts Festival audiences that highlights the gravitas, creativity and joy our women contribute to the well-being of our Society, not least through their wide-ranging impact on South Africa’s cultural landscape.” 

The SA Women’s Arts Festival will see an enticing series of events and productions being presented in venues across The Playhouse complex. Headlining the Festival roster are three productions running in The Drama Theatre. These comprise a cutting-edge Dance programme of historic identity exploration, an A-list Gala Concert of Music and Song, and a dazzling evening of high-end Comedy.

Amawethu, the dance production, runs in the Drama Theatre on August 4 at 10h30, with repeat performances on August 5 at 10h30 and 18h30, and August 6 at 14h30 and 18h30. Choreographed by Luyanda Sidiya, this riveting piece features a troupe of ten dancers, accompanied by five musicians, on a quest to find their true identity as they portray a human a story that seeks to rectify, more so, to reclaim who we are as people who have been separated from our cultures and customs. The production lays bare the distortions that predate the African slave trade that led us to believe that our own spirituality had a demonic, pagan, uncivilized, barbaric and godless origin. Tickets R90.

(Xolisa Dlamini)

Women in Concert, the Festival’s glitzy Gala event, takes place in the Drama Theatre on August 12 at 18h00. Directed by Ralph Lawson, this will feature a powerhouse line-up of leading artists, including Ami Faku, Xolile Mncwango, Berry Trytsman, and Xolisa Dlamini with Poetry by Siphokazi Jonas, and Thando Fuze … with MC Stacey Norman in the presenter’s seat. Tickets R100.

Also in the Drama Theatre, All Women Comedy on Saturday August 13 at 14h30, adds a lighter note to the Women’s Arts Festival mix. Sharing the spotlight are KZN’s premier female comics, Jailoshini Naidoo, Lisa Bobbert and Annie Botha. Expect a rollercoaster ride of side-splitting fun and laughter. Tickets are R120 per person.

(Above: Jailoshini Naidoo, Lisa Bobbert & Annie Botha)

Adding to the attractions of these mainstage events is a line-up of stimulating socio active discussion sessions, as well as a number of free contemporary programmes of music, song and dance.

Community Conversations

Three Community Conversations will be held without charge. Gender Based Violence will be the first topic on August 6 at 12h00 in the Alhambra Room. Here, Tracy Going, Dr Reshma Badal and Malungi Myende will share their stories, leading the discussion on how this heinous social malady has affected communities.

Essential Work of Arts Managers in the Music Community and important contributions of women in the administration of South African Music are explored during the Online Conversation on August 6 at 12h00. Facilitated by Dr Akhona Ndzuta, the work of Natalie Rungan, Velile Sithole, and Rucera Seethl will be spotlighted.

The 3rd Community Conversation takes place in the Alhambra Room on August 13 at 12h00. This focuses on the interlinking topics of Sustainable Income, Arts and Modern Technology. Lliane Loots, Edmund Mhlongo, Leagan Peffer, and T-Bone Hlahane will lead the discussion. Admission is free.

Two Test Driving the Arts events will be held on August 2 and 10 at 13h00 (admission free). The former features Izigi Zomdabu and Umlazi Levites Choir, the latter featuring Umlazi Gospel Choir and Selaphi Sisters. Also in the Cellar, festival goers can enjoy a free Sundowners Concert on August 5 at 18h00, when veteran muso Madala Kunene will be joined on stage by Ntombiza Sithole, Saphinda Futhi, T’zozo and DJ Sox.

Finally, two engagingly-curated exhibitions will be held in the Main Foyer areas throughout the festival. Nguni Shades themed My African Dream celebrates black consciousness, the spirit of Ubuntu and showcases the country’s elegant African fashion. Nguni Shades will profile learners to showcase pieces of their fine African elegance couture that represents Africanism.

Arts and Crafts Exhibition gives a platform to Hlengiwe Dube, specialist author of the culture and language Zulu Beadwork. Dube has been involved in many development projects locally and internationally, passing her skills in beadwork and also in telephone wire weaving.

All Playhouse Company bookings are through WebTickets.

For more information visit



Siphokazi Jonas

Siphokazi Jonas is a writer, poet, performer, and producer with a strong national footprint and growing international presence. Jonas has written and performed in numerous productions including #WeAreDyingHere (2020) at Artscape and Joburg Theatre, and Around the Fire (2018) at Artscape Theatre. She is a co-producer, co-writer and performer on the short film adaptation of the #WeAreDyingHere film. In 2016 she was the first African to perform at Rhetoric, the biggest poetry event in the world, in Los Angeles, California. An international multi-award winner in many creative fields, she has been profiled on both print, radio, and television media including the Daily Maverick, Sunday Times, IOL, Hectic Nine-9, Expresso, eNCA, SABC, eTV, Cape Talk, 702, and many others. Jonas teaches spoken word and theatre online at an elementary school in Florida, USA, and is the current English Poetry editor for New Contrast.

Ami Faku is fast-making a name for herself with her Afro-soul music. The Port-Elizabeth-born singer/songwriter first appeared in The Voice South Africa (2017). Her first single Ndikhethe Wena, earned her a collaboration with De Mogul SA. She worked with the Afro House Deejay and Producer on the song Ungowam. More and more doors opened to the celebrity, and she even worked with Sanele Sithole (better known as Sun-El Musician) on Into Ingawe, her song. One of her singles, Uwrong made it to gold status on the Recording Industry of South Africa (RISA). Faku has dropped several hit songs including Into Ngawe and Imali. She combines Afro-soul style with today’s pop music giving birth to a piece of modern Afro-soul music.

Jailoshini Naidoo enjoys a popular following in all sectors of South Africa’s Show Business world. Durban Theatre audiences will recall her stage appearances at The Playhouse in Queens of Comedy; Jimbo; At the Edge; 1949; Chalo Cinema; The South African Collector; and Jungle Book. Currently a lead actor in the popular daily TV series Imbewu: The Seed on ETV, Naidoo was a lead actress in the hugely successful films Keeping up with The Kandasamys, Kandasamys The Wedding, and Trippin’ with the Kandasamys. She is also an actor in the new Netflix series, Justice Served, an action drama, and in the BBC series Strike Back 2. Her most recent movies include Mr Johnson, 3 Days to Go and The Indian Detective. Naidoo is currently a radio presenter on the Weekend Breakfast show, The Weekend Recharge on Lotus FM.

Lisa Bobbert has won the hearts of South African theatre audiences with host hit productions, including Abbamaniacs, The Rocky Horror Show, Defending the Planet, Brutal Tunes, and Sally Bowles in the musical Cabaret. Other notable triumphs in Bobbert’s portfolio include Liza Doolittle in My Fair Lady, Confessions of a Car Guard, the Witch in Sondheim’s iconic Into the Woods, Audrey in Little Shop of Horrors and a hilarious Miss Hannigan in Annie as well as Bobbert Uncut, Convent Girls, Family Therapy, Glitter Girls, Marriage for Dummies, Go Big, Dolphins by Starlight, I feel Pretty, Shirley Valentine, Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella, Welcome2Durban and Twitch. Her many accolades include a string of Durban Theatre Awards and nominations, a Mercury Personality of the Year Award, and several prestigious Fools Awards. Bobbert is also in demand as a motivational speaker.

Annie Botha has taken the Durban comedy scene by storm and people are taking note! She started her career on December 15, 2020, and this newcomer has since won a Talent Search Competition held at Kudta. With her first show, she opened for Daryl Williams and Andrew Hughes. She has since appeared with Marc Lottering, Carvin Goldstone, and a host of other big-name comics. Her ever-growing stage persona aside, Botha has also expanded her career trajectory into the MC world, with weddings and events. This talent is on the move, people. So, watch this space!

(Left: Thando Fuze) 

Thando Fuze is a Durban-based modern contemporary spoken word artist, writer, Founder of SHEfted MInds, Arts Events Co-ordinator and Director at FuzeArtCo. Groomed under the guidance and mentorship of Dr Gcina Mhlophe, Fuze is one of a few prominent voices in Durban who continually redefine themselves, the state of poetry and the perceptions of others through her creative works. She has shared the stage with the likes of the Legendary Baba Madala Kunene, her mentor Dr Gcina Mhlophe, Lebo Mashile, Luka Lesson from Australia and other greats such as Kat François from the UK. Over the years, she has not only built herself as a brand but has also helped create platforms for other artists coming up. Fuze currently works as a freelance Artist Liaison Officer for Poet In A Suit, Project Manager for SHEfted MInds and full-time Performance Spoken Word Artist.

Xolisa Dlamini, celebrated singer, vocal coach and songwriter. Won the national finals of the Old Mutual Jazz Competition in the vocal category in October, 2000, Dlamini went to record with sensational guitarist Selaelo Selota who she worked with on the album Enchanted Gardens featured on tracks Baya Ndiphatha phatha and Hlokomela. Her debut album Times was released in 2003. It was produced by Shaluza Max Mntambo and featured the likes of Mncedi Kupa on piano, Vuyo Shiburi on bass and Kwazi Shange on guitar. Her second album Afro Blue was released in 2010. The album earned her more recognition as a female composer. Ndim ndedwa is a love song that she dedicated to her husband for the love he gives to her and their children. Also included in the recording is a song Umjolo which was composed by Sipho Sithole and Sipho Khoza. Sithole also produced the album. This dynamic performer has appeared at many international festivals has also recorded and performed with the late Busi Mhlongo, Serio Diaz and many others.

Xolly Mncwango was born in KwaZulu-Natal and is a hot new talent among contemporary gospel musicians. She has worked alongside the likes of Benjamin Dube, Xoli Thabethe and Ayanda Ntanzi and Joyous Celebration. She recently won a Crown Gospel Award 2021. Mncwango’s single, Yebo Nkosi, is the third release from her album following Healing Power and Ungukuphila. This gifted young artist has been noted by talent scouts as a star in the making.

(Right: Berry Trytsman)

Berry Trytsman was announced as one of the top 16 of the Idols SA season 17. The 32-year-old Capetonian wowed the Judges and audiences with her new isiZulu single, Ungowami. She has gone on to write her own music and has performed in various music festivals in South Africa. Clearly another bright new talent in our creative firmament.

For more information contact Dawn Marian Haddon at The Playhouse Company on email