Five minutes with The Herd's Muzi

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Zenzelisiphesihle ‘Sparky’ Xulu
Zenzelisiphesihle ‘Sparky’ Xulu

Sparky is a nickname I got in high school, and, for some reason, it stuck. I don’t remember how I got it, but I think it had to do with rugby. Also, when you go to an all-boys school — as I did — a nickname sticks with you for life [chuckles]. 

Pietermaritzburg Kollective, aka PAK, is a non-profit arts organisation I started for aspiring artists in my hometown. We, as members, had always been frustrated about the lack of platforms, and we came up with an organisation for ourselves and others. It’s a hub that ensures artists don’t end up leaving or turning to other careers. 

I’m passionate about moulding young talent and creating platforms to encourage everyone to pay it forward. I learnt early on that people take the arts for granted, and view what we do as fun and games. But there are different elements within the industry that one can grow into. There’s more to it than just acting. I want the youngsters in my neighbourhood to look up to me for guidance because, growing up, I didn’t have that person. 

Theatre will always be home. It’s all I’ve ever wanted to do. I started acting in productions from grade 8 — I wasn’t an academic, and I couldn’t get away from sports either. I’m fascinated by the different building blocks that come into play on a TV set — all the parts complements each other. However, theatre is where I learnt my technique and discipline. 

I don’t think theatre is dying. But as practitioners, we need to find different ways of bringing productions to the people. Theatre doesn’t have to be formal, plays can be staged anywhere. We must go out and repackage it to entice people and attract new audiences.

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