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Baxter, Play House join forces with State Theatre for the biggest Kucheza Afrika Festival

Kucheza Afrika Festival. Picture: Sanmari Marais

Kucheza Afrika Festival. Picture: Sanmari Marais

Published Mar 26, 2021


Arts and theatre lovers are in for a special treat this Easter as the 2021 edition of the Kucheza Afrika Festival will be showcasing in three cities; Cape Town, Tshwane, and Durban.

This festival sees new a new partnership with the South African State Theatre, The Playhouse Company and Baxter Theatre Centre.

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The festival is set to run from Thursday, April 1 till Sunday, April 11.

The annual Kucheza Afrika Festival (formerly Dance Umbrella Africa) had to be re-imagined due to the Covid-19 pandemic and current national lockdown restrictions.

Inspired by the Swahili word for dance, Kucheza aims to be a platform that will help preserve dance in the country and the rest of Africa.

With partnerships born out of reigniting the fires of live theatre, the new partners are set to assist in providing access to performances venues, technical and administrative support towards the realisation of live dance productions for companies residing or based in their specific provinces.

The festival features the dance fraternity’s renowned dancers such as Vincent Mantsoe, Lulu Mlangeni, Phillippe Baldini, Ignatius van Heerden, Fana Tshabalala, Thulani Chauke, Mdu Nhlapo, Louise Coetzer and more.

Lulu Mlangeni in The Encounter. Picture: Zivanai Matangi

The festival will kick things off with The Standard Bank Young Artist Award recipient Fana Tshabalala joining forces with Thulani Chauke to re-imagine the late Themba Mbuli’s renowned work Dark Cell.

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The piece is Mbuli’s 2012 solo creation, which was a response to Dark City, drawing its inspiration from images of political prisoners on Robben Island to explore issues around mental imprisonment.

The duo performs live at SAST from Friday, April 2, to Saturday, April 3.

The Baxter Theatre will host two productions titled “Trapped” by Unmute Dance Company at 6 pm and Louise Coetzer’s “Darkroom Contemporary” on Tuesday, April 6 and Wednesday, April 7.

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“Trapped” by Unmute challenges the ‘trapped mentality’ that society uses to stereotype persons living with a disability.

It is produced by the Cape Town-based company and featuring dancers Nadine Mckenzie and Siphenathi Mayekiso, who both live with disabilities.

Nadine Mckenzie in “Trapped”. Picture: Danie Coetsee

“Darkroom Contemporary” features an original sound score composed by Matthijs van Dijk, and the piece immerses the viewer in a dreamscape, where the tension between reality and remembering to collide in an infinite loop.

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The Playhouse Company will stage the dance piece, “Sullied”, by Kristi-Leigh Gresse.

Using dance and spoken word, the piece dives deep into the world of rape culture, sexuality, gender identity, race polarisation and religion.

Programmed under the Young Artists programme of the festival, “Sullied” will be presented live at the Playhouse Company on Thursday, April 8 and Friday April 9.

Tickets range from R80 to R120 per show through Webtickets or at Pick n Pay stores.

For more information click here.

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