Award-winning playwright and poet Napo Masheane has been appointed as the new artistic director of the Sibikwa Arts Centre.
Sibikwa, a multidisciplinary arts centre, has a 33-year legacy of productively contributing to the socio-economic fabric of South Africa.
The centre has established a footprint across the continent, with global connections in the US and Europe.
Masheane says her new position “evidently shows the silent shift” that has been taking place within the theatre industry.
“My peers and I (meaning black women) have played on these stages, occupied many pages and rolled up our sleeves in the boardroom for ages.
“So this visibility of being the face of a very world-renowned organisation with a legacy that spread across 33 years means all the hard work is finally paying off,” says Masheane
“But this position is beyond a privilege or an opportunity, but a task and service I am taking with full honour, commitment and pride.”
Masheane is not the only new addition to the centre – she will be working alongside Caryn Green, who will take the reins as the chief executive of the centre.
Theatre legends and co-founders of Sibikwa Arts Centre, Smal Ndaba and Phyllis Klotz, will pass on the baton to the dynamic duo from July 1.
Commenting on their departure, Ndaba and Klotz said: “We reflect fondly on the years that we have served at Sibikwa.
“We are immensely proud to hand over a world-class organisation to the new leadership team and are confident that we have identified an ideal fit for chief executive and artistic director.
“Caryn has demonstrated strong leadership qualities since her appointment as chief executive-elect in 2019 and, coupled with Napo’s deep artistic experience and intimate knowledge of theatre management, we are certain they will ensure that Sibikwa continues to thrive in the future.”
The centre was established in Ndaba’s Daveyton home to serve as a creative refuge for young people to escape the conflicts of the tumultuous late 1980s.
It has become a leading arts hub, recognised as a Centre of Excellence by the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture.
Affectionately known as Ikhaya Lethu (Our Home) by thousands of young learners who trained at Sibikwa, it has produced numerous acclaimed art professionals who grace the stages of the country’s top theatres and television screens.
Green is an advocate for democratising access to the arts, with over 15 years of experience in the arts sector.
She was appointed business arts manager at Sibikwa in 2019 when she was mentored by Ndandal and Klotzin in preparation to take on the role of chief executive.
Masheane is a founding member of the Feela Sistah! Spoken Word Collective and Village Gossip Productions and previously the deputy artistic director at the South African State Theatre.
“We are honoured to be entrusted with taking forward the legacy of the co-founders, remembering and re-visioning a Sibikwa that upholds his-story, her-story and our-story.
“We look forward to consistently re-kindling the spirit of uku’bikwa, transforming raw talent into sustainable opportunities, engaging in global cultural exchanges and advancing the arts and culture landscape, taking Sibikwa to unprecedented heights, year on year,” said Masheane and Green.