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16th January

9-1pm and 2-6pm

 

THE PROMENADE

The Giant Puppets appear along the various passages of the Promenade. They will lead you to the Promenade Parking Area. Here local poet and performer, Samkela Stamper begins the programme reciting one of her own poems. Here is an extract:

This land that you created I dwell on
Has its own tale that it spins time and time again
It tells of ancient times that precede me
Where my ancestors left traces for me to follow
The trees and the wind whisper of a future still to come
A future that awaits me

I feel so humble
A lone entity in this universe
Yet I hear your voice
It speaks to me and lives in me

The ancient sounds and voices of SK Manda’s traditional dance group pierce the air and gives way to vibrant song and dance followed by a choreographed routine to recorded music. This is an unusual dance company from Mpumalanga that combines traditional dance with acrobatic work and fire eating.

Next, try and spot camouflaged local singer ‘Chocolate’, (Enock Eddy Mamba) performing his medley of ballads and rousing love songs.

This work will be followed by Cape Town’s Mandisi Shindo who will present Sacrifice. Using rich imagery, this duet between two men engages in a public battle between tradition, truth and reconciliation. The work is accompanied by traditional singing and classical opera. The work takes as its main metaphor a captured bull, ready for slaughter, drawing on the vulnerability and tactics of the animal before the traditional Xhosa slaughtering ritual takes place. The actual killing is not the end but the beginning of the real battle. Victory brings little relief or reward as the force of deeper feelings of guilt and regret overcome and threaten to annihilate.

Changing the mood completely will be another performance by the company led by SK Manda. This is a more modern piece called Hip Culture. Samkela Stamper comes back with another poem and introduces a full performance by all the characters of the Giant Puppets with individual larger than life puppets and rousing musicians.

PROCESSION ON ROUTE

The Puppets then lead us in the direction of the Taxi Rank. On the way there you will see Simon Max Bannister’s Giant Giraffes, a sculpture work called Journey. Bannister who hails from Cape Town created these five Giraffes out of timber, to stand 4.5 metres tall and weighing 30 kilograms each. You will also come across the Madudula Art Project with hilarious comedy performed by a range of characters through dance and mime.

TAXI RANK

Performance here opens with the vigorous and vivid dance rhythms performed by Inkwazi, a highly versatile traditional dance company. Expect a combination of recorded music and live percussion accompaniment.

The suited and painted gospel singer Sipho Langa and his group of singers appear to perform unique renditions of gospel songs.

You are lead to the next venue by body-painted performers. Painted by the talented graduates of Cape Town’s City Varsity, follow the journey through to…..

THE BUS TERMINAL

Samkela Stamper begins with one of her poems that starts a dance performance called Coming Home that deals with travelling, an appropriate theme for the Terminal. It is a moving emotional work about waiting for your loved ones to get home. The work is choreographed by Ntombi Gasa and features Siyabonga Mhlonga from the Siwela Sonke Dance Theatre in Kwa Zulu Natal and members of the Inkwazi Traditional Dance Group.

This performance is followed by a solo, duet and trio dance work featuring the award winning IKAPA Dance Company from Cape Town. The company creates its own choreography out of a combination of traditional African dance forms, classical ballet and contemporary dance. Their works tell stories that are moving and accessible.

Vigorous and vivid dance rhythms again performed by Inkwazi, in their rousing Finale will end this Programme.

17th January

9-1pm and 2-6pm

 

POST OFFICE

The morning kicks off with Cape Town’s Mandisi Shindo. He has choreographed a dance work to classical music (from Górecki to Mozart) and traditional singing called The Widow. A provocative contemporary dance theatre work performed by five women, the architecture of the old Nelspruit Post Office forms the frame to tell a story of “love, marriage and life; the journeys of beautiful young girls and of comprehensive widows who let us into their hearts after the death of their husbands”.  The work ultimately celebrates the beauty and strength of a woman. And characteristically deploys Shindo’s trademark combination of traditional and modern music, dance, sounds, poetry and architecture to communicate stirring stories.

A poem by local poet, Patience Ndhlovu taking off from the themes of the previous work is read:

Darkness gives you an opportunity to shine
When the sun sets it means your time has come
Time to stand out and be a shining star
And everybody will see your light.

We need darkness to see stars
So allow the sun to go down
When darkness comes, face it because
A star cannot shine in the light.

The Giant Puppets of the Giant Match Association escort you the next venue….

PROMENADE SHOPPING CENTRE

Where body painted figures painted by graduates from Cape Town’s City Varsity, blend with the roots of the trees and the concrete to create an other worldly atmosphere.

The Giant Puppets lead and pass Simon Max Bannister’s giraffes which appear again and take you to the square in front of Foschini Stores.

FOSCHINI

Rose Maliyane leads a subtle and elegant traditional dance accompanied with singing.

Also dressed to dazzle, the singer “Indlovukazi”(Princess Nkuna) performs one of several songs that she will sing on this route. An outstanding singer, her repertoire extends from traditional to gospel and jazz.

Complementing her voice will be the haunting voices of the popular isicathimiya group Good News. Dressed and painted in unexpected ways they will work with the architecture of the building while going through their deft moves and singing their powerful acapella compositions.

The isicathimiya group leads us on to the next venue to meet the powerful traditional dance company, Inqaba Cultural Group, led by Adam Mthethwa.

ABSA SQUARE*

The Inqaba Cultural Group uses traditional Swazi dance to create an atmosphere of celebration and strength. They will also present a powerful marimba interlude.

In contrast the Cape Town based IKAPA Dance Company presents a contemporary dance work using the architectural background as a backdrop.

Whilst a powerful and entertaining pantsula dance work, called Escalating Pantsulas choreographed by KwaZulu Natal’s Mxolisi Nkomonde bursts into being.

Followed by December Maseko’s dance company, Bayeza African Cultural Activities.  Performing unique variations of traditional Zulu dance forms, the technically superior dances take place in a display of athletic virtuosity.

The programme ends with all the dance companies and dance styles coming together, African and European, classical and contemporary in a composite work performed to the stirring composition Bolero by Ravel.