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Tuesday, May 17, 2022

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Artscape pays homage to dance icon Themba Mbuli

Themba Mbuli and Nadine Mckenzie. Picture: Supplied

Themba Mbuli and Nadine Mckenzie. Picture: Supplied

Published Dec 2, 2021


Artscape is hosting a series of events this festive season and, among them, have included selected dance performances in honour of the life and legacy of the dance legend and co-founder and associate director of Unmute Dance Company, Themba “Dredz” Mbuli.

The festival sees thrilling dance pieces Traces of Memory and Ngwedi and an Installation by Louise Westerhout, celebrating Mbuli’s immense contribution to the industry.

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Things kicked off on Wednesday, December 1, with the ArtsAbility Festival, which is dedicated to the memory of Mbuli.

The award-winning choreographer and dance teacher died in January after a short illness.

In Traces of Memory, dancers take viewers down memory lane as they revisit some of the works created by Mbuli during his seven years with the company, through dance and the display of imagery .

Ngwedi is a dance tribute to the late Mbuli, who has been and continues to be an inspiration and a ‘soul mover’ to many artists.

Westerhout collaborated with Mbuli with a work that premiered at the JOMBA Festival in 2020. She will do installation work as a response to the initial work done by her and Mbuli.

Artscape is also hosting the inaugural Miss Wheelchair South Africa on Thursday, December 2.

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Themed ‘Beauty without Barriers’, the prestigious event is challenging the norms, societal standards and rigid definitions of beauty.

The newly crowned Miss Wheelchair SA will represent South Africa at Miss Wheelchair World in Mexico in October 2022.

Commenting on the event, Artscape CEO Marlene le Roux said: “The building that houses Artscape is celebrating its 50th year. It opened as the Nico Malan on May 19, 1971 for whites only.

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“As democracy dawned and the name changed to Artscape circa 1999, a transformation journey commenced to demystify the building as a home for all.

“This event thus succinctly ties into our ethos of promoting full inclusivity, including persons with disabilities.

“Thus, with the hosting of this event, we aim to change the image of women with disabilities, break barriers and show that being in a wheelchair is not a limitation.”

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“The Lady Aoi”. Picture: Supplied

Theatre lovers have until Saturday, December 4, to enjoy the Yukio Mishima’s critically acclaimed masterpiece "The Lady Aoi".

Presented as a fusion of visual and physical theatre, puppetry, mask work, original music and design, this moving play is about unrequited love, obsession, passion and possession, tells how the living ghost of a mistress scorned, nightly torments the body of her lover’s new wife.

For tickets prices and more information on the Artscape latest offerings, visit: