Choreographer: Mamela Nyamza
Company: The Forgotten Angle Theatre Collaborative
Concept, Design, Choreographer & Director: Mamela Nyamza
Performers: Nicholas Aphane, Shawn Mothupi, Lorin Sookool, Thulani ‘Lathish’ Mgidi, Nomfundo Hlongwa and Francesca Matthys
Costume Designer: Sasha Ehlers
Lighting Designer and Technical Manager: Thabo Pule
The Forgotten Angle Theatre Collaborative (FATC) presents the provocative new work titled PHUMA-LANGA, created by NAF Featured Artist Mamela Nyamza, in residence at the Ebhudlweni Arts Centre in Emakhazeni, Mpumalanga
How many times have we seen misspelt or mispronounced African names by non-native people during the era of Apartheid without a worry to rectify it? One example is the African name of the Province called Mpumalanga. Even today one can hear non-lingua people calling the province, “MAPHUMALANGA!” The name of this piece is thus called PHUMA-LANGA, an African word meaning “Rise the sun/ Sun-rise”. This is deliberate, as this work is all about the revival of language, art and culture, which can go a long way to create peace, harmony and stability in South African society. It is a fact that our young democracy is at a cross-roads at all social levels. Race relations intolerance is at its peak, and our moral fibre as a nation is at its lowest due to political impasse and chronic corruption. This work is a call for a construction of the soul, and indeed a recall for a renewed reconciliation among all South Africans.
PHUMA-LANGA is a call for a renewed social cohesion through artistic meaningful themes, mostly derived from the Ndebele culture, but also run across all the experiences derived from the history of South Africa. The work strives to be innovative in a single platform but from different performers’ valuable experiences as South Africans. This piece is all about trying for a milestone toward reviving and promoting the diminishing good within our cultures.
To bring a meaningful artistic theme to the piece, Nyamza drew inspiration from the Ndebele culture among other diverse historical South African experiences, as a way of depicting renewed social cohesion. “My hope is to be innovative in this production from the performances to the message I want to get across. I am trying to reach a milestone where we can revive and promote the diminishing good within our various cultures,” Nyamza says.
- This production was funded by the National Lotteries Commission
About Mamela Nyamza
Mamela Nyamza, the National Arts Festival’s Featured Artist, is a choreographer and dancer from Cape Town. She was trained at the Zama Dance School by the late Arlene Westergaard. She studied ballet at the Tshwane University of Technology as well as being trained at Alvin Ailey, New York School of Dance and Vienna Impulstanz. She received a fellowship at the University of Cape Town under the Gordon Institute of performance and creative Arts. Nyamza’s works often question the norms and limits of classical dance while the sociopolitical and social issues of South Africa are of interest to her. In 2011, she won a prestigious Standard Bank Young Artist Award and recently received an Imbokodo Award honoring women who excel in the crafts. In addition to her choreographic work, Nyamza also trains young dancers.
Nicholas Aphane learnt to dance at the tender age of 12 at the Dance Factory. Straight after school he joined PJ
Sabbagha’s FATC. During his second year he successfully auditioned for PARTS. He then worked with choreographer and dance teacher David Zambrano in 2009. A collaborative duet with Steve Michil followed. In his works, Aphane’s use of rhythm becomes his personal choreographic stamp, his unique movement, and his language.
Shawn Mothupi‘s passion for dance was realised at a very young age when he was introduced to ballroom and Latin-American dance. He has since been intrigued by movement and moving bodies in various spaces. It inspired him to join Vuyani Dance Theatre in 2004 where he trained in African Contemporary Dance under the direction of Gregory Maqoma. He has worked with various choreographers and directors as well as has performed in many theatre and corporate productions. He has hosted workshops both locally and abroad, and is currently working with FATC as a performer, teacher, facilitator and choreographer.
Lorin Sookool was captivated by the poetry of dance at the tender age of 5 in Durban. After obtaining a dance degree from the University of Cape Town, Sookool returned home for two years finding employment at the Playhouse Dance Residency where she worked with Jay Pather and Lliane Loots. Curiosity for a more natural
and honest physical expression found Sookool partaking in residencies such as Crossings III and the FATC’s artist in residence. In 2017 she was a company member at FATC and spent her time training and teaching in
disadvantaged communities as well as disability centres. Sookool has created work for various platforms including Jomba!, Thunya Lerole, Dance Umbrella and Infecting The City.
Thulani Lord Mgidi, also known as Lathish Berret, was born in Mpumalanga Emalahleni. He started dancing in
2000 for the Qaphelani Community Theatre (QCT). His formal training began with Moving Into Dance Mophathong, where he studied Contemporary, Afrofusion, African, Traditional Dance and Arts Administration. He spent three years there. Since then he has worked with local and international choreographers and directors as well as presented his own works in festivals, such as the Dance Umbrella, Detours and the National Arts
Festival. He recently worked in Germany for Constanza Macras|DorkyPark and was recently employed at FATC as a company member.
Nomfundo Hlongwa is from Durban. She started dancing at the age of 15 in a community project called Kwamashu School of Dance. After matriculating she trained with The Jazzart Dance Theatre as part of a three-year training programme, under the artistic directions of Jackie Manyaapelo. During her training, she performed in numerous productions by the likes of Ina Wichterich, Christopher Kindo, Sifiso Kweyama and Mzokuthula Gasa. In 2014, she enrolled at Moving into Dance Mophatong in Johannesburg, and obtained a National Certificate in Performing Arts (NQF Level 4). She has worked with Sibonelo Dance Project director Mzokuthula Gasa. She has also recently been involved in a six-month voluntary programme with Brouhaha International, in the UK, and was recently an intern dancer with FATC.
Francesca Matthys has a Bachelor’s degree in Dramatic Arts from the University of Witwatersrand. She is the 2016 recipient of the Percy Tucker prize for best Dramatic Arts Director at Wits. Last year, Francesca produced her own production, Vlower (POPArt/NAF/Krekvars), as well as In Between Breath (CPT Fringe), in which she also performed. Also in 2016, she performed in Marina Magalhães’ (LA), (UN) BRIDALED, at the Wits Theatre. Matthys has also written a full length play The Girl in the Photograph, which placed 2nd in Gauteng for the 2016/17 PANSA Scriptwriting competition. In 2016 – 2017 she was an Intern at The Forgotten Angle Theatre Collaborative.
Sasha Ehlers graduated from the University of The Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa. After attending NYU Tisch Film School, she started her set and costume design career working with Clare Stopford on Green Man Flashing, Shreds and Dreams (2005), and the Naledi Nominated Black Dog/Inj’Emnyama (2006), which toured to Stockholm, Sweden. Ehlers has worked with some of South Africa’s most well-known directors and choreographers, including Sylvaine Strike, Craig Higginson, Malcom Purkey, and Ntshieng Mokgoro. She has received Naledi nominations and awards for best set and costume design. She has lectured at the University of Pretoria in Theatrical Design and has collaborated with FATC for many projects designing shows such as IMMunity, Fana Tshabala’s Indumba and with Fortune Cookie Theatre Company and FATC’s show Cargo; Precious (2014).
Lighting design and technical manager
Born and brought up in Soweto, Thabo Pule joined a community group in Diepkloof during high school, introducing him to professional theatre through dance workshops. Pule fell in love with theatre at a young age. In 1994, after high school, he was trained in stage management, sound and lighting at the Dance Factory where he went on to work as a Resident Senior Technician. He has worked with local and international dance companies such as Alvin Alley, Freeflight Dance Company, Pact Dance Company, Moving Into Dance, Vuyani Dance Rosas. Pule toured with Robyn Orlin’s City Theatre and Dance Group nationally and internationally. During his European tours he got an opportunity to study sound design in Grenoble, France. With a love of theatre and live performance, Pule has worked for various arts festivals and was head of lighting for the National Arts Festival for four years.
About the Forgotten Angle Theatre Collaborative
The Forgotten Angle Theatre Collaborative (FATC) is one of South Africa’s leading dance organisations. Based at the Ebhudlweni Arts Centre, in rural Mpumalanga, FATC is strongly committed to mobilising the arts as a vehicle for personal and social transformation. This commitment, emerging from its long history of arts activism, lies at the heart of each project within FATC’s extensive Artistic and Development Programmes. Under the Artistic
Directorship of founder PJ Sabbagha, FATC has produced a prolific body of work dedicated to the probing of critical personal and social issues.