Group stuns with award

2018-07-18 06:02
The members of Amandla Danca Teatro ZA who scooped the Silver Ovation Award in Grahamstown.Photo: Supplied

The members of Amandla Danca Teatro ZA who scooped the Silver Ovation Award in Grahamstown.Photo: Supplied

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With their first performance on a real theatre stage, not forgetting that it was their first exposure to an international platform, Kimberley based Amandla Danca Teatro ZA scooped the Silver Ovation Award with Emathongeni in Grahamstown.

Co-director of the group Monwabisi Banjiwe described the show as the most rewarding as they were hoping for recognition, but not an award of such magnitude.

The internationally-renowned Grahamstown Arts Festival was held from 28 June to 8 July, where the group was scheduled to stage six performances.

Although the province has a theatre, the group have never had the experience of performing in a theatre back home, except the makeshift stage at the Mayibuye Arts centre in Galeshewe.

Reliving the day upon recei­ving the incredible news, Banjiwe said the phone rang and a voice asked if it was Monwabisi speaking.

“I said yes in a distracted tone as I felt the call came at an inconvenient time. We were busy doing some alterations to our costumes for the next performance.

“I cannot remember the exact words of the woman except that she mentioned whether I was aware that we have won one of the best awards for our performance of the day before.

“All of the sudden the mood in the room was transformed from nervousness to jubilation.”

The group was co-founded by Banjiwe and Mkhululi Mabija. This followed their return (Banjiwe from Brazil and Mabija from New York) to nurture talent in their home country.

A 60 seater and a 22 seater bus fared the crew of 82 members to Grahamstown thanks to the provincial Department of Sports, Arts and Culture and the Northern Cape Arts Council.

The amazing part about the group is that they were performing for the first time on a real theatre stage, let alone in Grahamstown.

Although Banjiwe knew that they gave it their all, he did not have the chance to see the group’s performance as he was busy in the dressing rooms.

He said their dream of exposing the children to a national stage went beyond their expectations, as they were blessed by professionals who offered their services for free.

“Although we do feel bad that we did not even have a stipend to give them, we feel very grateful towards them.”

The group further extended their appreciation towards the parents, of whom some sponsored the costumes, staff members, creative team, and the children who worked hard.

“They really worked hard as they managed to learn the show in only two weeks’ time, with exams in-between.

“I have never seen a team work this hard. Even a professional takes at least two weeks to get this caliber of work right,” said Banjiwe.

He said that the suspense of the type of award they had won did not distract the children as they continued to mesmerise the audience with an electrifying performance.

He promises to continue showcasing their talent to his province through various performances on home soil.

Depending on sponsorships, he plans to tour the province.

“We are proud to have shown the world out there that even if we are from the platteland we have talent. We exposed our beautiful culture to the world out there.

Banjiwe concluded that the production consists of an angle of culture, education and tourism.

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