Awumkeni uDumza wena, ubona nje ithayma lasekasi.So went the discussion between the two guys when the news of Dumile Magodla’s untimely death broke and left all of us stunned.
Dumile was a narrator, a renowned story teller, a walking encyclopidia, playwright, sportsman and ‘n outie met style.
At the height of the perm hair fashion, Dumza was daar. Imomozela sbali, ishayna, imanzi.
He had this huge afro so you can imagine xa yenziwe iperm inoba yayinjani. Bell bottoms, Dumza was daar eshaya ngovoops we bells, ehamba nge style.
In all this Kasi boy façade that everybody saw, there lurked an in inquiring mind, razor sharp intellect kwi dreads, but I guess that the arrival of that hairstyle clashed with iperm.
And a thirst for knowledge and intellectual stimulation that was unquenchable. He trained as a teacher in Natal, at St Chads to be exact, at a time when most students attended school in the Transkei or Ciskei.
He was different. You can imagine when the students came back for vacation and the others are boasting about Butterworth or Cofimvaba, Dumza would be throwing his yebos and cha phelas to good effect, especially at the giddings.
He did leave his mark in the education field through his creative approach to learning and teaching, given the limited if non existent facilities at black schools at the time. However as much as he loved this field, it was too stifling for a creative soul like Dumza.
In the midst of playing tennis, coaching soccer, administrator in the football association, Dumza was studying Drama at UCT. Ja, UCT nogal, at a time when it was so difficult to gain entry at those white institutions, Dumza was there.
Maar studying die’ snaaks goetens. How do you study isketch. I mean we all used to do isketh esgela,what does he mean that he is studying how to act. Die outies het gese’ uDumza uyaxhoma maybe he is just working eUCT, maybe as a sweeper mhlawumbi that is why esithi he is stdying isketch.
Uyabazi abantu basekasi. Maar uDumza being uDumza would patiently explain that his studies involve understanding izinto like non naturistic approach to the production,role definating, casting decisions, settings, vocal and facial expressions to lend impact etc. Ja neh! Cwaka amajita.
Next thing uDumza is in Italy! Die outie was mos serious ngalento ingaqhelekanga that he was studying. To go all the way to Bologna to a Masters Degree in Italy ngesi Taliyane nogal, ney this guy was serious. And yes he was.
And yes he passed his Masters. And yes he did speak Italian. And no, he did not have Mafiosi as friends because that is what all the movie watching guys would ask him about Italy.
Dumza lived for his art and as we know South Africa must be the one country that the arts are least appreciated yet in other countries South African artist are celebrated. Take Fats Dikeni, Teboho Moholo, Makhaya Ntshoko, Thoko Ntshinga, to name but a few. These are artists that draw full house in any theatre or hall that they perform in throughout the world, yet at home they are not known. That is the art that Dumza lived for, unappreciated yet deep, and a mirror for society.
At the time of his untimely departure he was working on this “big thing Geoff, uzakuyibona kawu,it is like nothing that I have written before”, but death ,the unpredictable, swept him away .
Sta Fats, please sewuyigqibezela because Dumza seemed so excited about this project.