Composer’s soft heart for SA

Published Sep 3, 2013


Cape Town - Composer and musician Tebogo Monnakgotla was born and raised in Uppsala by her Swedish mother and South African father. She started playing the cello at the age of 10.

While still studying at the Royal College of Music, Tebogo became internationally known as one of the most interesting composers of her generation when her work Bambu i björkars språk won the prize of recommendation in the 2006 International Rostrum of Composers, the European Broadcasting Union’s competition in contemporary music.

Tebogo is in Cape Town for the dance and music performance piece I Hit the Ground Running, a collaboration between Scenkonst Sörmland (Sweden) and the Baxter Theatre Centre.

Where have your travels taken you?

The UK, France, Italy, Germany, Holland, Turkey and Iceland. And not forgetting South Africa (I love Cape Town). Furthermost east I have been is Turkey and the most west, Iceland.

But I have been north of the Arctic circle and met Santa Claus in the middle of the summer.

Best holiday?

I prefer to visit a place or country for an extended period rather than just being a quick tourist.

One of the best trips was actually when I stayed in Grahamstown for a couple of months with my husband and my daughter.

He was doing a marine biology project at Rhodes and in Coffee Bay, which is probably one of the most beautiful places in the world.

What do you avoid on holiday?

Touristy places – they generally are overpriced and in my opinion, boring. The European holiday, which usually involves going to the Mediterranean just to sunbathe, that’s not for me.

Worst experience?

Last summer when I was in Turkey we were having lunch at a beach café. I realised that the burgers we had ordered were not made there but were actually take-aways from McDonalds on nice plates. I was so angry.

What have you learnt from your travels?

I’ve learnt to make a detailed list before I start packing. I have come to learn that if I do not do this, I invariably end up forgetting something .

Your ideal travelling companion?

Someone who doesn’t get stressed by the fact that I’m a last-minute person who doesn’t like to be at the airport very early.

Best meal on your travels?

There is this really lovely restaurant in Grahamstown called The Cock House and, according to my husband, who loves fine dining and great wines, it was on par with restaurants in Alsace, France.

Greatest travel luxury?

Eating out, because the prices in Sweden are horrendous.

Holiday reading?

Crime novels when I visit the countryside anywhere in the world. If it’s a more urban holiday there is usually so much else to do than read.

Your dream trip?

Greenland and Madagascar. Madagascar is a recent addition because of the Manasquan poet, Jean-Joseph Rabearivelo, who lived there and who wrote such wonderful poetry about the place.

Where to next?

Probably the Swedish countryside, just to get some calmness and spend time with my family. - Weekend Argus

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