Infecting the City 2012
City Treasurers - Invisible Gold

The Treasures of the Trash

Created By:

Owen Manamela


Mon 21 – Fri 25 at 11h30


Festival Hub, and then through the CBD


60 mins

Dancer-choreographer Owen Manamela and his team of dancers, waste management workers, and a musician, climb on a Wasteman garbage truck, and turn the daily rounds of rubbish collection in the CBD into a mobile choreographic intervention that spotlights the men that cart away the City’s tons of waste.

Says Owen: ‘What is the role of the people labelled “Solid Waste”? They fit intrinsically into our urban rhythm. We plan our routes around them. They bag our junk, and we in turn bag them. We barely notice them under their luminous vests, with the odours of their roaring trucks announcing their passing.

The invisibility of these people enables them to be the true observers of a hidden side of our lives. Invisible Gold explores how society is seen from the perspective of Waste Management workers.

There is an irony in their managing of our waste and our simultaneous insistence on their invisibility. They know many of our secrets and yet we disregard of their humanity Fittingly they come from the places the Mother City has classified as wastelands – the Cape Flats and Townships.

What would happen if all these valuable workers downed their brooms, their bins, their black bags and disappeared out of sight?’


Mdu Kweyama, Owen Manamela, Linda Tshabalala

Musical director:

Linda Tshabalala

Assistant director/ script-writer:

Asanda Phewa

Thanks to: The City of Cape Town and Wasteman

Owen Manamela

Owen Manamela

Owen Manamela is a contemporary dancer, choreographer and teacher who trained at the Johannesburg Dance Foundation from 2001-2003, where he received a diploma in dance under the guidance of Graham Davies and Eugene Berry. At the end of 2003, Owen met the artistic director of the Jazzart Dance Theatre, Alfred Hinkel, who was running workshops at the Dance Factory. This was a turning point in his career as he had finally found a contemporary styl read more...