Ekasi Lam – An Ode to Kwaito, Un-Owed to Kwaito

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Ekasi Lam – An Ode to Kwaito, Un-Owed to Kwaito presents the point of view that there is no genre closer to an accurate portrait of the township than kwaito. It posits that when closely observed, kwaito – and all its subsequent sub-genres – is the living literature of Johannesburg’s South Western Townships, and every kasi beyond Soweto’s borders.

Writer and director Jefferson Bobs Tshabalala together with musical director Bernett Mlungo use scamtho poetry as a vehicle to tell a unique township story about South African kwaito and how its vast catalogue has offered timeless, nuanced vignettes and a myriad insights into how the majority of Mzansi lives.

Much like hip hop, kwaito is ‘urban poetry’, an agent for social commentary through its lyrics and the statements its practitioners stand for. From points of charged political awareness to engaging with sociological issues, from cultural critique to astute personal introspection, kwaito’s themes and concepts are far reaching and formidable.

Director: J.Bobs Tshabalala
Music Composed By: Bernett Mlungo
Featured Artists: Simpho Mathenjwa, Mathews Rantsoma, Gugu Dhlamini, Lucky Ndlovu, Kopano Tshabalala
Company: Jefferson Bobs Tshabalala

Project Manager: Nontobeko Mkhatshwa

I Am Somebody

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Sirqus Alfon is the story of a group of friends who started out as street performers and ended up on big stages. Using their personalities as a starting point for drama and physical tension, the performers of Sirqus Alfon weave an infectious spell of unbridled insanity. Chaotic adventure with technical hi-jinx that you have never seen on the stage before makes Sirqus Alfon a unique artistic experience.

Hailing from Sweden, Sirqus Alfon presents I AM SOMEBODY – a unique high-tech musical innovation for the internet generation (and everyone else). Skilfully crafting an interactive comedy performance imbued with rhythm, humour and a touch of magic, they represent a genre entirely of their own in which the audience gets to be the star of the show.

Sirqus Alfon has been touring internationally since 2004 – from Chinese theatres to refugee camps in Palestine to burlesque clubs in New York. They have worked with the Swedish National Touring Theatre, Cirkus Cirkör, and Clowns without Borders. Sirqus Alfon appeared on Season 12 of America’s Got Talent and won the Pick of the Fringe Award at the 2017 Adelaide Fringe.

Featured Artists:  Martin Östman, Erik Rosales, Henrik Strindberg
Company: Sirqus Alfon

Creators: Martin Östman, Erik Rosales, Henrik Strindberg
Outside eye: Hugo Hansén
Assistant Choreographer: Sofia Södergård
Costume Design: Helena Andersson
Makeup Design: Agnes Kenttä
Creative Producer: Follow the Rabbit / Josefin Lindberg
Photo Credit: Klara Granberg

Swarm Theory

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SWARM THEORY is a playful theatrical investigation into the possibilities of collective human intelligence. Swarming the streets of Makhanda, an agglomeration of physical performers engage with their environment as a single collaborative organism, exploring the street corners, green spaces and market places of life. Each swarming is unplanned, immediate, dynamic and unique to its ecosystem of sounds, smells, rhythms and people. The swarm manifests a group mind — self sufficient, yet undirected and unpredictable, an adaptive, self-organising critical mass at the edge of chaos.

Created and directed by Well Worn Theatre Co’s Kyla Davis and physical theatre practitioner and theatre maker Daniel Buckland.

The Boat

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THE BOAT is a new collaborative piece led by choreographer and dancer Themba Mbuli. It is inspired by the African migrants who have crossed – and are still crossing – the seas from Africa to Europe in search of ‘a better life’.

Guided by true African stories, the work remembers the human cost and what has been lost – the heritage, culture, humanity and wealth of African people – while celebrating the light that still remains in Africa. By focusing on the sense of belonging – in our own skin, in our own land and in our own communities – it brings up issues of mental and spiritual indoctrination, colonialism, borders, power and domination as well as sociopolitical interaction and culture. Written by Billy Langa (Tswalo), the stories are embodied through dance, with live music by Xolisile Bongwana.

Themba Mbuli was the Standard Bank Young Artist for Dance in 2016. Mbuli is an associate project manager and a co-founder of Broken Borders Arts Project, together with Fana Tshabalala and Thulani Chauke.

Director: Themba Mbuli and Billy Langa
Written By: Billy Langa
Choreographer: Fana Tshabalala and Thulani Chauke
Music Composed By: Xolisile Bongwana
Featured Artists: Themba Mbuli, Fana Tshabalala, Thulani Chauke, Billy Langa and Xolisile Bongwana
Company: Broken Borders Arts Project

Too Many Zooz

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Mandla Mlangeni

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Ziyarat

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Thania Petersen’s outdoor installation, Ziyarat, is part of the exhibition Between land and a
raised foot curated by Ruth Simbao. Ziyarat was created in collaboration with Thania’s
father, Bienjamin Petersen. The installation was created with the support of RAW
(Residencies for Artists and Writers) as part of the Arts of Africa and Global Souths research
programme at Rhodes University.

Facing South

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Renowned Cape Town acoustic duo, Facing South – guitarist David Ledbetter and vocalist Amanda Tiffin – teams up with visiting Brazilian maestro pianist/accordionist Guilherme Ribeiro and internationally acclaimed Dutch bassist Hein van de Geyn to present cross-cultural, acoustic magic.

The quartet performs a selection of original material with a cross-cultural flavour, with compositions and collaborations from all members of the ensemble. The music is featured on their upcoming album release, recorded in Cape Town.

Voice: Amanda Tiffin
Accordion: Guilherme Ribeiro (BR)
Guitar: David Ledbetter
Bass: Hein van de Geyn

Celebrating African Song

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Throughout Southern Africa, traditional music faces the risk of fading into obscurity as it comes up against commercial and hip modern sounds. Over time, ethnic music has been subject to the overpowering influences of modernity, with original isiXhosa music threatened by the rise of colonialism and Western churches in the rural Eastern Cape.

Celebrating African Song will take audience members on a journey through the majestic views of the Eastern Cape, whose songs and melodies are echoed through the valleys and mountains.

The raw isiXhosa indigenous songs will be sung by Dumza Maswana, his baritone voice accompanied by the rich jazz tones of a 10-piece band. Expect innovative harmonies, engaging lyrics and nostalgic expression that crosses to the spiritual realm. Included will be the works of Mam’ uMadosini and uMam uNofinishi Dywili, whose sounds are a celebration of indigenous isiXhosa music.

Featured Artists: Lead vocalist: Dumza Maswana, Piano: Yonela Mnana, Double Bass: Thembinkosi Mavimbela, Acoustic Guitar and Flute: Bongani Tulwana, Drums: Lungile Kunene
Company: Soul Yard Records

Producer: Dumza Maswana
Music Directors: Dumza Maswana, Yonela Mnana

All Who Pass

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1974: Eviction. An inner-city Cape Town neighbourhood is being forcibly cleared by the apartheid regime. A family spend their last night together in their District Six home.

2019: Restitution. A daughter returns to claim her inheritance and exorcise the ghosts of what took place there. A journey that will bring her back to a landscape of memories, past and present.

Amy Jeptha, this year’s Standard Bank Young Artist for Theatre, explores displacement in her new play, All Who Pass. The work time-travels between a 1974 eviction and a 2019 restitution. This play was first developed during the Royal Court Theatre International Playwriting Residency with support from the British Council.

Written By: Amy Jephta
Music Composed By: Benjamin Jephta
Company: PaperJet

Directed by: Quanita Adams
Lighting Design: Jon Keevy
Costumes realised by: Leigh Bishop
With: Elton Landrew, Carmen Maarman, Jawaahier Petersen, Roberto Meyer and Iman Isaacs