Trailblazing dancer and choreographer Mamela Nyamza takes the title of Featured Artist in 2018. The Featured Artist is recognised for their contribution to the South African cultural narrative and is invited to bring multiple works to the Festival. Nyamza will present three works, including a brand-new piece, BLACK PRIVILEGE. Presented by the National Arts Festival, co-commissioned by Ruhrtriennale (Germany) and co-produced by PACT Zollverein (Germany), the work is informed by the artist’s experience of the rejection of the other by mainstream gatekeeping institutions.

BLACK PRIVILEGE will premiere in Grahamstown

“Themes of patronage, patronisation and hypocrisy will run through the piece, depicting the intention to provide opportunity, but with a misuse or abuse of current adversity. The #MeToo has also influenced this work but in the acute context of South Africa,” writes Nyamza. “We live in a society where we are constantly judged and rejected. This piece seeks to show the hypocritical judgement provided by those who are quick to point out flaws but who are, themselves, not perfect. Judgement inevitably leads to rejection, feeling like trash and ash. Notwithstanding, and ultimately, success delayed is not success denied! Rejected/Unsung/Misjudged Heroines are revived and re-celebrated through this art-work.”

Nyamza’s PHUMA-LANGA, presented by The Forgotten Angle Theatre Collaborative, calls for renewed reconciliation of all South Africans through the diverse experiences of the country’s many cultures. HATCHED, first brought to the Festival 10 years ago, is Nyamza’s autobiographical piece about the life changes experienced through motherhood and features Mamela’s 18-year-old son Amkele Mandla, who performed in the show as an eight year old when it premiered.

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