ARTSCAPE is paying tribute to the 60th anniversary of the 1956 Women’s March to the Union Buildings in Pretoria.
The Women’s Humanity Arts Festival is on from Thursday to August 10 at Artscape and the extensive programme includes music, dance, theatre and panel discussions.
The drama platform features two plays about iconic South African women: Cold Case: Revisiting Dulcie September, performed by Denise Newman and Oomasisulu, performed by Thembi Mtshali-Jones, Indalo Stofile and Chuma Sopotela
Cold Case: Revisiting Dulcie September won an Ovation Award at the 2014 National Arts Festival and the Adelaide Tambo Award for Celebrating Human Rights through the Arts (also 2014). Apart from one season last May at the Baxter, the production has not been seen again on our city stages.
This stirring piece conjures up an evocative portrait of the activist who was assassinated in Paris in 1988. She was 53. Newman was perplexed by September’s death – that after all these years her death remains unsolved and that September’s story has been largely not talked about. After immersing herself in archival material and conducting interviews, she collaborated with Sylvia Vollenhoven and Basil Appollis.
Vollenhoven wrote the script and Appollis directed. Cold Case poignantly conveys the loneliness that September must have felt – in exile, cut off from country, family and community. It’s a travesty that this play has only had one major season in Cape Town.
I haven’t seen Oomasisulu – directed by Warona Seane – which premiered recently to positive reviews in Grahamstown. Dr Sindiwe Magona wrote the script, adapting extracts from In Our Lifetime, the biography of Walter and Albertina Sisulu written by their daughter-in-law, Elinor Sisulu.
The story is told through “two generations of women: a mother who marched to the capital in 1956, and her daughter who was involved in a much more violent protest in 1976”.
“The project was initiated by Mtshali-Jones and Magona. “Our approach was not to give a history lesson or anything like that but rather to tell her story but a different version of it that hasn’t really been told much by others,” said Mtshali-Jones.
“We wanted to show people that Mama Albertina grew up as an ordinary young girl in the rural areas with no political ambitions, but became involved in politics from her various experiences.
“We wanted to tell a story that any young girl today can identify with because, when one reads about historic icons, we just read about them as heroes and not about their journey and trials and tribulations which they had to face in order to become those heroes.”
See www.artscape.co.za for festival information. Book at Computicket 0861 915 8000/www. computicket.com or Artscape on 021 421 7695.
Daneel van der Walt in at the National Arts Festival. She won an Ovation Award for this production
Chuma Sopotela, in the wheelchair, and Indalo Stofile in
Denise Newman delivers a powerful and nuanced performance in