It’s a sister act

2008-07-22 00:00

The Playhouse Company has announced details of the 12th South African Women’s Arts Festival (SAWAF), which runs at the Playhouse in Durban from July 29 until August 16. Once again, the festival will highlight the impact women make in the world of arts with productions of poetry, music, drama and dance.

SAWAF’s 2008 programme opens with Duma Ndlovu’s acclaimed stage drama, The Game (July 29 until August 10 in the Drama Theatre), featuring a cast of big-name actresses, including Leleti Khumalo, Sindi Dlathu, Mary Twala, Lucia Mthiyane, Phumelephi Mthombeni and Simpiwe Ngema.

The musical production, Women of Dzonga (Women of the South), runs from August 6 to August 9 in the Loft Theatre. This features a line-up of women performers in a mixed medley of show-stoppers from a variety of genres, including mbaqanga music, a capella singing and kwasa kwasa.

This year, the annual Gala Concert features one of South Africa’s most enduring music legends, Letta Mbulu. The concert is on August 10 in the Opera Theatre at 3 pm. Mbulu has been given a South African Music Award for Lifetime Achievement and is a big drawcard. She will be joined by her husband Caiphus Semenya and by local star Swazi Dlamini. Celebrity poet Lebo Mashile will be the event’s programme director.

Other attractions include a free open mic poetry session in the Grand Foyer on August 9 at 4 pm with Gcina Mhlophe as the anchor artist, and Battle of the Women DJs in the Grand Foyer the next day from 5.30 pm. This celebrates young women who have made their names in the local and national music industry, including DJ Sindo, DJ Zinhle and DJ Sem.

Desiré Davids’s ground-breaking dance fusion piece, New Classics, returns to the Drama Theatre from August 14 to August 16. Davids choreographed the piece for five Durban dancers — Zinhle Gumede, Louise Fraquet-Golding, Lucile Sproull, Quinton Ribonaar and Davids herself. The production also features a guest appearance by Zulu traditionalists, Omama Boxolo (The Mothers of Peace).

Booking for all SAWAF productions is through Computicket at 083 915 8000 or the Playhouse box office at 031 369 9540/96. For more information, contact the Playhouse Company’s marketing department at 031 369 9456 or, alternatively, by e-mail at

Women’s arts festival: A host of famous actresses star in ‘the game’

The Game is the centrepiece of the South African Women’s Arts Festival, running from July 29 to August 10 in the Playhouse Drama Theatre.

Written and directed by Duma Ndlovu, the play has an all-female cast of top South African stage, movie and television stars, including Leleti Khumalo (Sarafina, Yesterday, Hotel Rwanda), Sindy Dlathu (Soul City, Township Fever), Mary Twala (Taxi To Soweto), Londiwe Mthembu (The Way Forward), Lucia Mthiyane (Backstage, Mzansi), Phumelephi Mthombeni (Rain, Amagama Amathathu) and Simpiwe Ngema.

The play is set in a fictitious Middleburg jail in 1993. Nelson Mandela has been released. In celebration of this milestone, the prison officials decide to release one of the female prisoners, but the women must determine among themselves who it is to be. This sparks off a major argument, and they decide to play musical chairs to determine who will go home. However, the process leads them to discover their need to unite as black women facing the future.

Tickets for the preview performances on July 29 and July 30 are R40. The rest of the run costs R80. Performances are at 7.30 pm from Tuesdays to Fridays, 3 pm and 7.30 pm on Saturdays, and at 3 pm on Sundays. Book through Computicket at 083 915 8000 or the Playhouse box office at 031 369 9540 or 031 369 9596.

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