South African Cultural Observatory


14 SEP 2017 - 16 SEP 2017
Category: Art
Region: Gauteng
Town: Braamforntein
Cover Charge: R 60.00
Contact Details: Neli Mkhawane:
Booking Details: Reserve your seat with Neli Mkhawane on


Phuma-Langa, which runs in September, is an exciting new work putting a new spin on South Africa’s two most favourite subjects - division and reconciliation. 

The Forgotten Angle Theatre Collaborative (FATC) presents a provocative new work titled Phuma-Langa, created by Mamela Nyamza, in residence at The Ebhudlweni Arts Centre in Emakhazeni, Mpumalanga. This thought-provoking production is funded by the National Lotteries Commission.

Nyamza, who also designed, choreographed and directs Phuma-Langa says, “During the Apartheid era and even still African names are misspelt and mispronounced by non-lingua people.”

One popular mispronunciation is Mpumalanga, which English-speaking South Africans tend to call “Maphumalanga”. This is the inspiration behind the title of the dance piece Phuma-Langa, which is an African word meaning “rise the sun” or “sunrise”. “I deliberately named the piece Phuma-Langa because it’s all about the revival of language, art and culture, which I believe can go a long way to create peace, harmony and stability in our country,” Nyamza explains.    

As a young democracy, South Africa is at cross-roads on all social levels. Race relations intolerance is at its peak and the nation’s moral fibre is at its lowest due to political impasse and chronic corruption. Phuma-Langa blows this theme wide open while calling into question the serious need for a renewed reconciliation amongst all South Africans and ultimately a reconstruction of the country’s collective soul.

To bring a meaningful artistic theme to the piece, Nyamza drew inspiration from the Ndebele culture among other diverse historical South African experiences, as a way of depicting renewed social cohesion. “My hope is to be innovative in this production from the performances to the message I want to get across. I am trying to reach a milestone where we can revive and promote the diminishing good within our various cultures,” she says. 

Talented FATC dancers, Nicholas Aphane, Shawn Mothupi, Lorin Sookool, Thulani ‘Lathish’ Mgidi, Nomfundo Hlongwa and Francesca Matthys, bring to life Nyamza’s concept of Phuma-Langa. And costume-cum-production designer Sasha Ehlers as well as lighting designer Thabo Pule add their own unique flair to the piece. 

“Special thanks go to Thulani for helping me with the basic Ndebele movements and answering all my questions about his culture. I am also grateful for each performer’s creative input. A true collaboration,” says Nyamza. “Also thank you to my partner Nomsa Hani and my friend Tozama Dyantyi for helping stimulate my concept.”




Mamela Nyamza is a choreographer and dancer from Cape Town. She studied ballet at the Tshwane University of Technology as well as being trained at Alvin Ailey New York School of Dance and Vienna Impulstanz. She received a fellowship at the University of Cape Town under the Gordon Institute of performance and creative Arts. Nyamza's works often question the norms and limits of classical dance while the sociopolitical and social issues of South Africa are of interest to her. In 2011, she won a prestigious Standard Bank Young Artist Award and recently received an Imbokodo Award honoring women who excel in the crafts. In addition to her choreographic work, Nyamza also trains young dancers and recently took up residency with FATC.

Nicholas Aphane learnt to dance at the tender age of 12 at the Dance Factory. Straight after school he joined PJ Sabbagha’s FATC. During his second year he successfully auditioned for PARTS. He then worked with choreographer-cum-dance teacher David Zambrano in 2009. A collaborative duet with Steve Michil followed. In his works, Aphane’s use of rhythm becomes his personal choreographic stamp, his unique movement, and his language.

Shawn Mothupi’s passion for dance was realised at a very young age when he was introduced to Ballroom and Latin-American Dance. He has since been intrigued by movement and moving bodies in various spaces. It inspired him to join Vuyani Dance Theatre in 2004 where he trained in African Contemporary Dance under the direction of Gregory Maqoma. He has worked with various choreographers and directors as well as has performed in many theatre and corporate productions. He has hosted workshops both locally and abroad, and is currently working with FATC as a performer, teacher, facilitator and choreographer.

Lorin Sookool was captivated by the poetry of dance at the tender age of 5 in Durban. After obtaining a dance degree from the University of Cape Town, Sookool returned home for two years finding employment at the Playhouse Dance Residency where she worked with Jay Pather and Lliane Loots. Curiosity for a more natural and honest physical expression found Sookool partaking in residencies such as Crossings III and the FATC’s artist in residence.  She is now a company member at FATC and spends her time training and teaching in disadvantaged communities as well as disability centres. Sookool has created work for various platforms including Jomba!, Thunya Lerole, Dance Umbrella and Infecting The City.

Thulani Lord Mgidi, also known as Lathish Berret, was born in Mpumalanga Emalahleni. He started dancing in 2000 for the Qaphelani Community Theatre (QCT). His formal training began with Moving Into Dance Mophathong, where he studied Contemporary, Afrofusion, African, Traditional Dance and Arts Administration. He spent three years there. Since then he has worked with local and international choreographers and directors as well as presented his own works in festivals, such as the Dance Umbrella, Detours and the National Arts Festival. He recently worked in Germany for Constanza Macras|DorkyPark and currently is employed at FATC as a company member.

Nomfundo Hlongwa is from Durban. She started dancing at the age of 15 in a community project called Kwamashu School of Dance. After matriculating she trained with The Jazzart Dance Theatre as part of a three-year training programme, under the artistic directions of Jackie Manyaapelo. During her training, she performed in numerous productions by the likes of Ina Wichterich, Christopher Kindo, Sifiso Kweyama and Mzokuthula Gasa. In 2014, she enrolled at Moving into Dance Mophatong, in Johannesburg, and obtained a National Certificate in Performing Arts (NQF Level 4). She has worked with Sibonelo Dance Project director Mzokuthula Gasa. She has also recently been involved in a six-month voluntary program with Brouhaha International, in the UK, and is currently an intern dancer with FATC.

Francesca Matthys has a Bachelor’s degree in Dramatic Arts from the University of Witwatersrand. She is the 2016 recipient of the Percy Tucker prize for best Dramatic Arts Director at Wits. Last year, Francesca produced her own production, Vlower (POPArt/NAF/Krekvars), as well as In Between Breath (CPT Fringe), in which she also performed. Also in 2016, she performed in Marina Magalhães’ (LA), (UN) BRIDALED, at the Wits Theatre. Matthys has also written a full length play The Girl in the Photograph, which placed 2nd in Gauteng for the 2016/17 PANSA Scriptwriting competition. Francesca is currently an intern at FATC.

Phuma-Langa will be performed on 9 September at 3pm at the Ebhudlweni Arts Center. Entrance is free. Then the work will be staged at The Emahaya Venue, 19th Floor, WAM building (University Corner) Braamfontein, on 14, 15, 16 September at 7.30pm. Tickets cost R 60 at the door and discounted tickets are R 30.


The seating is limited so please reserve your seats by contacting Neli at





011 6730264 / 477 0923 /


Venue Name: Emakhaya Theatre, 19th floor, University Corner Building
Street Address: Cnr Jorrison

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