Inthe

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - LIFE -

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.

Dani and the Lion. PIC­TURES: SUPPLIED

Da­neel van der Walt in at the Na­tional Arts Fes­ti­val. She won an Ova­tion Award for this pro­duc­tion

Oo­ma­sisulu.

Chuma Sopotela, in the wheel­chair, and In­dalo Stofile in

Cold Case: Re­vis­it­ing Dul­cie Septem­ber.

Denise New­man de­liv­ers a pow­er­ful and nu­anced per­for­mance in

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