Theatre inspired by words

“What we have seen in the festival this week, is words that have inspired, conspired, interrogated, critiqued, analysed and reflected and I could add a lot more to that,” says Ismail Mahomed, Artistic Director of the National Arts Festival. “Artists have always found inspiration somewhere,” says Mahomed. South Africa has a history of producing dynamic…

Will the 1820 Settler’s Monument be renamed?

The recent #RhodesMustFall campaign provoked vital conversations about the colonial heritage of the country.  Understandably, the monuments and artworks representing colonial history created a sense of unease among the students, which was emphasised by the institutional racism of the university. Brenda Schmahmann discusses the impact of these monuments, their naming and the particular changes underway…

Fields Of Green for all

“At the end of Matric in 2004 I took a trip to Europe and during that trip I visited Amsterdam,” says attorney Paul-Michael Keichel. “Not only did I smoke some very high-grade cannabis and enjoy it, I found myself in a very functional society in which people go about their business [and] the sky doesn’t fall.” Keichel and…

South African histories recontextualised

Our ancestry, heritage and the traditions passed down to us from previous generations have a huge impact on how our identities are formed. “Our understanding of knowledge is very much contextualised by our own culture, so living in that western culture, we tend to give priority to the discoveries of our own culture and tend to…

Fear and the Foreigner

“He’s a man in his early 60s, he has twelve children and we were standing in the camp and in the distance we could actually see his home in Syria. And in the middle of the interview he suddenly burst out crying…  and he then said, ‘I would rather die on the Mediterranean with my…

The universality of human suffering

History offers mankind many things. It’s not only the opportunity to critically reflect on the mistakes of the past, but also to remember and empathise with people just like ourselves. “My story is not unique, there are so many stories like this and most of them will never be told,” says journalist Paula Slier, about…

Women on the Fringes

The focus of the National Arts Festival this year may be on celebrating women, but the everyday reality of women in theatre is that of being marginalised and overlooked by its overtly patriarchal structure. While there is an increasing number of women in powerful positions in the theatre industry, there is still room for transformation,…

Representations of South African Theatre, performed and written

South African Theatre, like the country itself, is a highly contested terrain.  “Who makes theatre and how, who writes about it and why; their race, their gender, who’s funded and who isn’t, definitions around community, professional/amateur, how that history is documented, written and defined” are all aspects to consider, notes Gita Pather as part of a panel…

Creation and appreciation of the arts remain a privilege

With the onset of the National Arts Festival in a town with a strong economic divide, it’s important to consider what seperates and excludes some people from creating and appreciating the arts. Decolonisation is not a simple process, but is multi-faceted. “It is a worldwide hegemonic process that has been going on for centuries,” says…