“I wandered around my early twenties, paying rent and reading classifieds and wondering why the lights were not turning green for me. My dream was to be a famous musician (I played the piano), but after several years of dark, empty nightclubs, broken promises, bands that kept breaking up and producers who seemed excited about everyone but me, the dream soured. I was failing for the first time in my life.” – Tuesdays With Morrie, Mitch Albom
A beautiful review on a interesting piece I got to watch last night.
Mamela Nyamza’s recent production entitled De-Apart-Hate (2016) is a moving performance that is steeped in powerful symbolism and follows a deeply authentic journey of embodied defiance and liberation. Performed by Mamela Nyamza and Mihlali Gwatyu, both are smartly dressed in black and white formal attire, occupying the almost empty stage with a visceral sense of presence and commitment to their performance. On the far right-hand side of the stage is a rainbow-painted bench, a potent signifier of the ‘Rainbow Nation’ post-1994 narrative as well as iconic apartheid bench.
Mamela Nyamza and Mihlali Gwatyu in ‘De-Apart-Hate’ at Cape Town Fringe Festival 2016 – Photo: Nardus Engelbrecht
But this brightly-coloured bench betrays its optimistic appearance as Nyamza and Gwatyu take their first seat and we notice that the bench is in fact unstable, dipping from side to side like a see-saw. The performers precariously balance on this wobbly seat and wait. They…
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“I am the artist because I wasn’t brave enough to be the poet. I am the artist because life demands that boxes need labels. I am the artist because I exist in what I create and am consequently ordinary in what I am. I am the artist because I prefer to improvise. I am the artist because sometimes I like to hide. I am the artist because sometimes I like to communicate. I am the artist because I take it personally. I am the artist because failure is possible. I am the artist because I’m not a certainty freak. I am the artist because I like the look on your face. I am the artist because I like the crowd I’m in with. I am the artist because sins of commission are more fun than sins of omission. “
I have a smart mouth (apparently).
“I’m tired of being broken,” the mind said.
“Not tired enough,” the soul replied.
If I had said no more often
Grew up in one place
Never went to boarding school
Took isiXhosa instead
If I had carried on with piano,
Kept playing the guitar
Taken Art as a subject
Went to Wits instead of UCT
Became a Medical Scientist and ignored my artistic side
Never moved to East London
Never left when I was there
Never went back to that gig that night
Never wrote that letter to the Herald Editor
If I was “normal”
Aiming only to survive the system
And not change it.
Had tunnel vision
Cruised through life
If I never read
Spent all that time alone…
Would I still be who I am now?
They call me impatient. But I view it differently. I see it as efficiency. the ability to think ahead. To see how things should go. Could go.