Ticket sales open for Hlakanyana
To mark the celebration of Africa Day, UJ Arts & Culture and Madevu Entertainment present ‘Hlakanyana’ at the UJ Arts Centre set to open on 25 May.
After a long development journey since the advent of Covid-19, ‘Hlakanyana’ is set to bring folklore, award-winning music, and magic to the Keorapetse William Kgositsile Theatre at the UJ Arts Centre this Africa Day. Directed by South African theatre icon Janice Honeyman and featuring some of South Africa’s most promising emerging artists, ‘Hlakanyana’ features a cunning, unethical creature, depicted in animal or human form, and who is the long-awaited son of the chief of a village, but instead of being a uniting force he leaves devastation in his wake.
A retelling of the traditional Zulu folktale, ‘Hlakanyana’ is an Afrofuturistic fusion of traditional folklore in a contemporary world. The trickster Hlakanyana is an anti-hero, beset by isolation and forging a path in a rapidly changing world. Many of the issues South Africa is facing now, such a gender-based violence, corruption, the lack of mentorship and moral guidance and uncertainty are explored through the medium of folklore. On a more personal level, isolation and the revising of people’s worldview and growing dissatisfaction of the status quo is also found in the fabric of the play’s script.
In its ninth draft, perfected by MoMo Matsunyane, ‘Hlakanyana’ is ready to draw audiences under its spell with a stellar cast including Sandisile Dlangalala, Dolly Louw, MoMo Matsunyane, Sibusiso Mxosana, Manakomba Ndimande, Siphiwe Nkabinde, Mphumzi Nontshinga and Kensiwe Mathebula Tshabalala.
"Since inception, the FADA Interdisciplinary Theatre Programme facilitated the collaboration of second-year students from across the faculty on the design of various elements of a professional production produced by UJ Arts & Culture. With ‘Hlakanyana’, this interdisciplinary and collaborative intent of the programme was embraced by extending these creative processes to a range of professionals including writers, actors, musicians, composers, dancers, and choreographers to create the much-anticipated musical we are delighted to present in partnership with Madevu Entertainment,” said Pieter Jacobs, Head of UJ Arts & Culture.
The ‘Hlakanyana’ journey started in 2020 when it was commissioned by UJ Arts & Culture as part of Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture’s flagship Interdisciplinary Theatre Programme. However, like so many other projects and performances planned for that year, the programme came to a halt in April with the onset of the Covid-19 Lockdown. Despite the stringent restrictions, UJ Arts & Culture under Pieter Jacobs, innovatively revised their strategy and Madevu Entertainment’s Zolani Shangase and Michael William Wallace and Honeyman were invited to continue the creation and development of the musical using the popular online platforms available.
In September 2020, five songs from the ‘Hlakanyana’ score were recorded live with composer Sne Dladla, lyricist Dionne Song, the Viwe Mkizwana Jazz Band and released as ‘The Sounds of Hlakanyana’ on various digital platforms on Heritage Day in 2021. In lieu of a stage production, UJ Arts & Culture and Madevu Entertainment partnered with Sebastian Burger and Callum Stout of the animation company Ohoneone to create an aural-visual animation that captured a sense of the story. ‘The Sounds of Hlakanyana’ has just won Best Public Performance at 7th Humanities and Social Sciences Awards 2022 from the National Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences. The stage production features new arrangements and composition by Viwe Mkizwana, under co-Musical Director Dale Ray Scheepers.
‘Hlakanyana’ will run at the UJ Arts Centre on the University of Johannesburg’s Kingsway Campus in Auckland Park from 25 May to 8 June.
Click here to book tickets.
UJ Arts & Culture and Madevu Entertainment acknowledges the support the Arts & Culture Trust, the National Arts Council of South Africa (NAC), Business and Arts South Africa (BASA), Distell, the Western Cape Governments DCAS (Department of Culture, Arts, and Sport) and the Department of Sports Arts and Culture’s Mzansi Golden Economy Fund.
For media queries and block bookings contact: Sneziwe Dube on email@example.com/ 011 559 4674
Find us at: Google Maps
UJ Kingsway Campus
Corner of Kingsway Ave and
University Rd, Auckland Park
Please note: The University of Johannesburg is a mandatory vaccination site. Proof of vaccination and ID is essential to gain entry onto the premises
NOTES TO THE EDITOR
ABOUT THE CAST
Sandi Dlangalala is an actor, physical theatre practitioner, lyricist, and front man from Ladysmith, KZN. He graduated from Rhodes University with an honours in Contemporary Performance and Choreography under the tutelage of Andrew Buckland and Juanita Finestone-Praeg. His professional debut came in 2015 when he worked as a performer for the Eastern Cape based theatre company, Ubom!, and in the same year, toured his choreography work, ‘Douche’. Since moving to Johannesburg he has appeared in various National Children's Theatre productions.
Dolly Louw is a vibrant seasoned performer who has been gracing the musical theatre stage since 2007. After completing her studies at Tshwane University of Technology, she performed in 9 of Janice Honeyman’s pantomimes and various other theatre productions including award winning shows ‘King Kong’ and ‘The Color Purple’. To add to her impressive theatre resume, Dolly Louw has also appeared in several television soapies and numerous television commercials.
Kgomotso “MoMo” Matsunyane obtained an Honours Degree in Dramatic Arts from Wits University in 2012, majoring in Performance as well as Film and Television. MoMo she has performed in numerous plays, films and television shows and has subsequently been nominated for and won several awards including: Best Actress in A Leading Role (‘Have You Seen Zandile?’- Naledi Theatre Awards), Best Supporting Actress (‘Ankobia’ - SA Theatre Magazine Awards), Best Ensemble (‘Animal Farm' - Naledi Theatre Awards), Best Supporting Role (‘Tsotsi The Musical’ - Fleur Du Cap Awards) amongst many others.
Sibusiso Mxosana is an actor, singer, dancer born who hails from Queenstown in the Eastern Cape. He has graced the stage in numerous productions including: 'Carmen' and 'La Traviata' with Cape Town Opera, 'Spring and Fall' with Cape Town City Ballet and Veronica Paeper's 'A Spartacus of Africa National Tour' with the South African National Dance Trust. He was a swing in the Joburg Theatre run of ‘West Side Story’, played the Cornet Man in ‘Funny Girl’, and originated the role of Taki in the revival of ‘King Kong’ with The Fugard Theatre. He recently toured internationally as Harrison in ‘Chicago’ the musical.
Manakomba is ambitious, hardworking, and talented. In the course of her school career, she participated in arts festivals every year and used her spare time to learn Latin American and Ballroom dance. Manankomba has appeared in numerous stage productions including ‘Freedom’ the musical; ‘Khwezi Say Her Name’; ‘The Fat Black Women Sing’; ‘Tsogo’, ‘The Rise of Charlotte Maxeke’ and many more. Manakomba has shared her magnificent voice with many audiences across the world as a solo vocalist.
Siphiwe Sip Nkabinde is a Zulu traditional vocalist, songwriter, actor, voice artist, dancer, and musician. He was born in Bergville, KwaZulu-Natal. Siphiwe Nkabinde has no previous professional training, but his sheer talent and hard work had earned him many roles in productions such as Umoja – ‘The Spirit of Togetherness’, ‘Kwela Bafana’, ‘iLembe’, ‘Madiba African Opera’, ‘Exit Exist’, ‘Music in The Air’, ‘Amandla’ Cultural Ensemble, ‘King Kong’, and children’s theatre productions ‘Library Lion’ and ‘Mr. Popper’s Penguins’ to name a few. Siphiwe has also appeared in numerous television shows.
Mphumzi hails from East London, a small city in the Eastern Cape. He is the first person in his family to pursue a career in the arts, having graduated from the University of Cape Town with a BA (hons) in Theatre and Performance with Distinction in Acting. Mphumzi is a Fleur du Cap Award Nominee and a Standard Bank Ovation Award Winner. This triple threat performer has appeared in numerous stage and screen productions including ‘Sophiatown’, Lorca’s ‘Yerma’, ‘Umsi and Sainthood’ which scooped the 2018 Standard Bank Ovation Award to list a few.
Kensiwe Mathebula Tshabalala
Kensiwe Tshabalala is a performing artist (dancer, singer, actor, choreographer) who has performed on the stages of Europe, New York and Los Angeles. Kensiwe obtained her Musical Theatre Degree from the Tshwane University of Technology (2010) after which she worked in the South African theatre and television industry, culminating in nominations from the Fleur du Kaap and Naledi Awards (2014). She obtained her master’s degree in Acting for Film at the New York Film Academy (2015, 2017). She acted on the off-Broadway stages of New York (2016) whilst working as a dance teacher and choreographer.
ABOUT THE CREATIVE TEAM
Janice Honeyman: Director
Janice Honeyman has worked consistently in most genres of theatre, locally and abroad for 50 years. Her work as director ranges from popular productions, opera, operetta, musicals, bawdy romps, children’s theatre, and educational drama to the great classics and plays that deal with a deep concern for social issues. Janice was a founder member of the Market Theatre Company, she was on the Market Theatre Board, and was Resident Director there for a few years. In the early days of TV in South Africa she was presenter on, the popular ‘Bangalory Time’, and her play ‘Tales from the Story Spaza Shop’ – original stories from Africa is published and is great fun for children and adults alike. Janice is well-known for her annual Pantomimes. She has also directed many musicals including ‘Hair, La Cage Aux Folles’, the internationally acclaimed ‘Showboat’, and recently (2018) the highly acclaimed ‘The Color Purple’. Music, Opera and Operetta are a great passion of hers, the last being a colourful and captivating Africanized ‘The Merry Widow’.
Zolani Shangase: Producer, Lyricist and Music Supervisor
Zolani Shangase is a Pietermaritzburg-born award-winning director, writer, business role player and Naledi Award nominated performing artist. He received formal training at Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) in the musical theatre department. He is a Director at Madevu Entertainment, an independent company focused on collaboration between young creatives, developing new works and innovating for the future. Madevu premiered their flagship production ‘On The Road to Music’ at Joburg Theatre in 2019. In 2020, Madevu Entertainment secured a residency with UJ Arts & Culture to develop ‘Hlakanyana’. Zolani made his West End debut in the ‘Lion King’ as ensemble and a cover for Simba. Zolani’s other performing credits include, Daz in ‘Kill Move Paradise’, Harpo understudy and dance captain in ‘The Color Purple’, ‘West Side Story’ and the titular role of Jack in ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’ all at Joburg Theatre. In 2021, Zolani along with business partner Michael William Wallace directed a short music film of ‘The Sounds of Hlakanyana’ which won Best Public Performance at the Humanities and Social Sciences Awards 2022. Zolani is alumni of the Business and Arts South Africa’s Scale Up programme and The Common Purpose programme for Emerging Leaders.
Michael William Wallace: Producer
Self-made creative entrepreneur, Michael William Wallace, started his career as a performing artist. Acquiring his accreditation from Trinity College of London, Michael went on to perform in various theatre productions locally and internationally. Such productions include the European tour of ‘Show Boat’, the Fugard theatre's acclaimed ‘Rocky Horror’ show, ‘Cabaret’, ‘West Side Story’ and Showtimes’ ‘Priscilla Queen of the desert’. Michael has starred in several commercials for brands such as BMW, Samsung, Heineken, and Nintendo worldwide campaigns reaching over 28 million views globally. After starting Madevu Entertainment, his own production company with business partner Zolani Shangase in 2017, Michael went on to produce and direct numerous projects. With a residency at the University of Johannesburg and a new partnership with BASA (Business & Arts South Africa) his journey in becoming a mentor and facilitator in the creative industry began. Michael’s need to change and evolve the South African creative industry remains his primary and ongoing ambition.
Dionne Song: Core Creative and Lyricist
Petite in stature and big in bubbling persona, Tshwane born Dionne Song, studied Musical Theatre at Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) obtaining her B. Tech Honours, Cum Laude, which layered her prowess as a performer and creative. She is a SAFTA (Beyonce in the Mnet Sitcom the ‘Coconuts’) and Naledi Award Nominee (Breakthrough category). Dionne’s multiplicative skills are demonstrated in her versatility as a practitioner. First appearing on our screens as teen presenter, she has since starred in commercials for Vodacom, Halls, KFC U.K. Stage Productions include ‘Little Shop of Horrors’ and Cape Town Opera House’s U.K. touring production of ‘Showboat’. She is part of the Afro-balkan band Bombshelter Beast who have been featured on CNN Africa and performed at Standard Bank Jazz Festival. She upholds her ethos of “Exuberant Expression” developing her songwriting ability in various projects namely co-writing a song for the female lead cast of South African Film ‘Flatland’ which premiered at the The Toronto Film Festival (TIFF).
Viwe Mkizwana: Composer, arranger, and co-Musical Director
An award winner, endorsee of Yamaha Global Music SA, multi-instrumentalist, Viwe Mkizwana hails from the Eastern Cape. He began playing Classical Double Bass at the East Rand School of the Arts at the age of seventeen. In 2008 Mkizwana’s love of music led him to the Tshwane University of Technology, where he successfully obtained his National Diploma in Jazz and Popular Music in 2011. He completed his Bachelor of Music Honors degree at the University of Pretoria in 2016, currently a master’s student at University of Pretoria.
Dale Ray: Co-Musical Director
Dale graduated from the Campus of Performing Arts in 2010 with a higher diploma in music performance and music production. He then joined International Production Company, Showtime Australia, for whom he would work as a multi-instrumentalist and musical director for 3 years. With Showtime, Dale performed in hundreds of shows touring the world. This includes the long-standing show ‘The Greatest Love of All’ featuring Belinda Davids. In 2014, Dale ventured into musical theatre as an actor/singer/dancer. He has since been cast in several musicals including a few of Janice Honeyman's famous Pantomimes. Dale then shifted to working as the band leader in these pantomimes, after which he would move on to becoming the musical director. Dale is contracted yet again as the Musical Director for Janice’s 2022 pantomime. This will mark the 8th consecutive ‘panto’ Dale has been involved in. In 2016 Dale founded the Pty. Dale Ray Productions.
Khaya Ndlovu: Choreographer
Khaya Ndlovu is an entrepreneur, choreographer, performer, and founder of Khayalethu Movement. She is also a founder and facilitator of Ubunye Kreatives an NPC that focuses on intersecting academic methodology with creative mythology assisting children to better their application in the schooling system and their everyday life. She has over 14 years of professional experience in the creative arts working for established companies such as Kmad Dance Company, Dada Masilo Productions, and so forth. She is a certified Associate One DanceCor teacher and has been teaching at numerous dance studios, art institutions, and public/private schools within Johannesburg and Pretoria, where she focuses on dance methodology and techniques with children. She has choreographed various works such as ' 'Silent Prints', ‘Say her name’, ‘I am’, and 'Inwele' that have been performed in theatres locally and internationally on commercial platforms and have been used for social awareness campaigns. Currently, she is the choreographer for the upcoming musical production 'Hlakanyana'.
Ntuthuko Mbuyazi: Sound Engineer
Ntuthuko Mbuyazi is a Durban born Multi-Award Sound Designer, a pure “Sound Addict”. He achieved his Diploma in Audio Engineering at Cape Audio College and is currently working Full Time at The Market Theatre. He was launched into Sound Design in 2016, and his work was nominated in the 2017 Naledi Theatre Awards for Best Sound Design - “6 Characters in Search of An Author”, directed by Sibusiso Mamba. He was further nominated in the 2018 Naledi Theatre Awards for Best Original Score/Arrangement/Music Adaptation for “Itsoseng”, directed by Lesedi Job. He then further received Double Nomination in the 2019 Naledi Theatre Awards for Best Sound Design for “Florence”, directed by Greg Homann (which he Won) and Best Sound Design for “Shoes and Coups”, directed by Palesa Mazamisa. He shares a Bessies Award with the legendary Nhlanhla Mahlangu for Outstanding Music Composition/Sound Design for Cion Requiem of Ravel’s Bolero by Gregory Maqoma/Vuyani Dance Theatre. Sound Design has seen Ntuthuko Mbuyazi Tour locally and internationally.
ABOUT UJ ARTS & CULTURE
UJ Arts & Culture, a division of the Faculty of Art, Design & Architecture (FADA) produces and presents world-class student and professional arts programmes aligned to the UJ vision of an international university of choice, anchored in Africa, dynamically shaping the future. A robust range of arts platforms are offered on all four UJ campuses for students, staff, alumni, and the general public to experience and engage with emerging and established Pan-African and international artists drawn from the full spectrum of the arts.
In addition to UJ Arts & Culture, FADA (www.uj.ac.za/fada) offers programmes in eight creative disciplines, in Art, Design and Architecture, as well as playing home to the NRF SARChI Chair in South African Art & Visual Culture, and the Visual Identities in Art & Design Research Centre. The Faculty has a strong focus on sustainability and relevance, and engages actively with the dynamism, creativity, and diversity of Johannesburg in imagining new approaches to art and design education.
ABOUT MADEVU ENTERTAINMENT
Madevu Entertainment is a locally based in Pietermaritzburg production company consisting of creative thinkers and innovators. Producing original work(s) in the form of theatre, film and music by means of collaboration. Founded by two queer creative artists, Zolani Treasure Star Shangase and Michael William Wallace, the primary focus of Madevu is to create sustainable and equitable employment opportunities for local artists by devising creative concepts into new Africa-focused works. The secondary focus is to bridge a gap between local and international creatives and stakeholders who can help open the world to our creative community.