Three women theatre makers to watch out for at Malibongwe Women in Theatre and Performance Festival

By CityLife Arts Writer

Many must have craved for live theatre in the past two years as there is no time like this one, whereby theatre lovers have to deal with the fact that during these Covid-19 times lie is never the same.

However for those that will happen to be in Cape Town on March 5, 2022, you will have an opportunity to attend in person, a one day theatre festival of a different kind, a special kind for that matter.

The women to focus on this time around at this annual theatre feast are these three women in theatre whose work will be showcased at the one day in the picture here,. from left to right  Indalo Stofile, Lee-Ann van Rooi and Qondiswa James..

The annual Malibongwe Women in Theatre and Performance Festival Volume 2 will showcase three theatre pieces by Cape Town women in theatre on Saturday 5 March at Magnet Theatre from 10am.

This year’s provocative theatre pieces are by Lee Ann van Rooi, Indalo Stofile, and Qondiswa James with a featured performance by Babalwa Zimbini Makwetu. The theatre-makers are invited to create 20 minutes-long experimental theatre pieces under the theme Her Voice, Her Prophecy.

Body of Evidence, the flagship project by Mud&Fire Parables supported by Distell, will also be exhibited as part of the festival. This experimental digital project is a national stop gender-based violence and femicide campaign.

Under the auspices of Malibongwe Women in Arts Project, the festival is a skills development and job creation project, says​ Festival Director Mandla Mbothwe. “The festival was started to recognise women in theatre who would normally be acknowledged only as performers.

It identifies three women who lead multi-disciplinary performances and stages them in various communities in the Western Cape. Ngo kwenza nje siphuthuma udlwengulo lweNkumbulo, soyisa ubunxaxha,” explains Mbothwe. “Each one of them has to identify a community centre and facilitate skills exchange workshops for interested youth.

The idea is to promote inter-generational skills development between established women practitioners and emerging theatre directors, stage curators, sound and lighting technicians.”
This year, the productions draw inspiration from three public figures Saartjie Baartman, Winnie Mandela and Miriam Makeba.

Lee Ann van Rooi’s Ma G, the gatekeeper​ is about a woman who stays at home. The character Ma G lives in a spiritual world away from the disturbance of modern life. “Ma G cannot go out shopping because the modern world is destruction to her calling. She is the gatekeeper for the souls who need to cross over.

The souls come calling anytime and Ma G must be ready all the time”, explains van Rooi, “Some souls are easy to let through, leaving behind joy and laughter. Others require Ma G’s energy to hold the darkness of their soul at bay so it can freely cross into the light, sometimes she wins, sometimes she cannot.”​

Van Rooi’s piece draws inspiration from Saaitjie Baartman. She is an elder ancestor who has transcended during most difficult times of slavery. She is a spiritual figure that helps women leaders of modern times transcend smoothly to become role models in today’s society. Van Rooi acts Ma G in this one-hander in which she directs herself.

Indalo Stofile’s Abahambi deals with issues of healing in the post-apartheid era. Stofile believes that art is a therapeutic movement that empowers black people, especially femme multitudes who have been oppressed for decades.

“For many decades unjust apartheid laws separated communities and killed the spirit of love and ubuntu,” says Stofile, “Nothing much has changed to this day. We have to re-unite.” she explains.

Inspired by the iconic ode to Saartjie Bartman by poet Dianna Ferrus, ‘I’ve Come To Take You Home’, Abahambi is a story about women who have walked in a landscape of patriarchal conquest through history and how their spirits echo in the voices of women today. An experimental stream of consciousness production, the work involves song, dance and poetry moving between isiXhosa and English text.

At its core the production looks at reclamation of women’s historical memory so that black women may gain a deeper understanding of themselves today.
Cracking the Spine is Qondiswa James’ work. The award-winning theatre maker recently staged an intervention, ‘a nation in mourning’, ahead of State of the Nation Address outside the City Hall this year. In Cracking the Spine, she looks at the effects of urban gentrification in Cape Town and its traumatic dislocating of poor communities, dumping them in less resourced areas. She also deals with issues of lack of shelter and social housing, asking pivotal questions about ‘so-called homelessness’.

Cracking the Spine is a public art intervention created and performed by James directed by Thembela Madliki and will be showcased at the Observatory Square.
Babalwa Zimbini Makwetu, Musical Director of the Nguvu ya Mbegu Sonic Bridges, is this year’s featured artist. The piece draws directly from the life of Enoch Mgijima and the Bulhoek Massacre of 1921.

The work attempts to assist people to connect with their true selves, with the unseen, and to test the present world. It claims the truth and wisdom of multiple prophecies in our collective memory to connect us to healing.

This year’s festival will be hosted by scholar Lwando Scott, and will run on  5 March 2022, at Magnet Theatre from 10AM – 4PM.
WHAT: Malibongwe Women in Arts Festival​
WHEN:​ SAT 5 March 2022, 10AM – 4PM
WHERE: Magnet Theatre, 142 Lower Main Road, Observatory
TICKETS:​ R50 |​ Webtickets​
INFO:​ Luvuyo Kakaza C 060 960 8935 | E​
Facebook: Malibongwe Women in Theatre #HerVoice #HerProphecy #Ezodakanomlilo
Instagram: Malibongwe Women in Theatre #HerVoice #HerProphecy #Ezodakanomlilo
Malibongwe Women in Arts Festival Programme
Arrive 10:00
10:30 – 11:00 SHORT FILM PRESENTATION: Malibongwe Women in Theatre Festival Volume 1 (5m)
WELCOME: Mandla Mbothwe, Qondiswa James (10m)
OPENING: Lwando Scott (5m)
11:00 – 11:30 Performance 1
11:30 – 12:30 Performance 2
12:00 – 12:30 Performance 3
12:30 – 13:00 Performance 4
13:00 – 13:30 BREAK
13:30 – 14:00 PANEL: Indalo Stofile, Lee-Ann van Rooi, Qondiswa James, Thembela Madliki, Zimbini Makwetu, moderated by Lwando Scott
14:00 – 14:30 PANEL cont.
14:30 – 15:00 PANEL cont.
CLOSING: Mandla Mbothwe, Qondiswa James
15:00 – 15:30 REFRESHMENTS
Each piece will run for 20 minutes with 5 minute transitions between.

.This festival is supported by the Department of Sports, Arts and Culture’s Mzansi Golden Economy. The festival was conceived by Mud&Fire Parables who later partnered with iKapa Dance Theatre in 2019 to produce Volume 1 and this year’s Volume 2. Other partners are Magnet Theatre, UCT’s Centre for Theatre, Dance and Performance Studies and Distell.

Please share

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

AliExpress WW