Part 2: Directing ‘GOMORA’

This is Part 2 of an interview with Tsholofelo Mmbi – the director of ‘Gomora’ – which is being staged at The Plat4orm in Newtown on the 26th, 27th and 28th November 2018. See show details at the end.

Describe 'Gomora' in 5 words:
The repercussions of history today.

What is 'Gomora' all about?
'Gomora' questions a lot of possibilities that are out there...
If history could be written from the eyes of nature, would it be written
the same as human perspective? But history is written by mankind which 
brings a question about the genuineness of the reality observed, or the 
truth might be subjective to ones perspective. That is the question being
interrogated through heightened physicality and visuals as a style of 
delivery, while the words of the play paint the characters and events 
through poetry and prose... 
The play is set in an ancient cave which has been turned into a historical
museum for tourist attraction, but the Tour guide of the place is a 
descendant of the rightful owners of the land. The play seeks for a 
solution about retrieving colonial impact affecting current generations.

What does the title ‘Gomora’ refer to?
According to biblical meaning Gomorrah means to be deep or deep water, 
but within the scripture Sodom and Gomorrah was known as the city of 
pain. In our 'Gomora' we refer to the pain we felt and never got a 
chance to mourn as we needed to adapt to the new systems, but our pain 
is still alive buried within our souls.

What makes the themes relevant to current audiences?
Personally, looking at where I come from, our young generation are mostly
affected by many shifts that took place in the past times,
for we do not know who we are and our identity plays a major role 
in everything we do, the current youth recognizes that wealth depends 
on the position of the land, and without ownership of land, you do not 
have the voice to change your destiny

What are you most excited about for this run at The Plat4orm?
I just can’t wait for the opening - to get more people to see my work
as a director, and to hear the feedback that will grow the piece more.

What is your favourite line from the play?
“We have stripped away all we knew, for it was no longer good enough 
for us”

Which artists and productions helped inspire/influence Gomora?
Definitely 'Milk and Honey' (directed by James Ngcobo) from our school 
production, simply because we devised the piece from our personal 
findings, and since then I have not rested away from the theme of 
land redistribution and identity.
Artists who influenced me are Vice Monageng and Worona Seane, 
for their work speaks volumes and gives me courage to tell more stories 
that can spark debate among people

What has been your biggest challenge as a director?
As an independent company, financial support is not available for a new 
show, so multitasking in order to remain in the budget capacity can be 
challenging and time never seems to be enough. 
So in short, its the minimum budget challenges because of the ripple 
effect towards other components of the project, and balancing being a
director and project manager. 

Are there any plans for 'Gomora' moving forward?
A few festivals and independent theatre spaces.

If you could tour the show to any other country, where would you go?
African countries first.

What has it been like working with Mli, Prince + Dintshitile?
It has been an overwhelmingly great experience. Everyday is a new day 
for new lessons with them, they offer themselves over to the process 
and there are no personal agendas but simply serving the work at hand.
As a director I feel like a child again, where I have a of toys to play 
with as Mlindeli Zondi keeps offering choices to play with and my work 
becomes so easy on the floor... When it comes to music, “aah“, I just 
get more and more lost into the world where I intended to go.
Prince Shapiro knows which instruments to play whenever I describe 
the mood of the scene, and sometimes I don’t even have to describe 
anything - he just knows and plays the instrument... And finally,
the cherry on top - Dintshitile Mashile, our vocalist. She is a blessing
from the heavens who completes the feel and the picture of the world 
through her voice.
It has been so wonderful to work with all of them because they are free 
spirits willing to serve the arts, are wonderful human beings, and there
is no day where it's dull with them. 

latest poster
‘Gomora’ is written and performed by Mlindeli Zondi (member of The Movement RSA), and features live music from Prince Shapiro with vocals by Dintshile Mashie. The show premiered at Joburg Theatre earlier this year, and will be showing at the Plat4orm in Newtown later in November.
See ticket info here:
For information about Eagles Wings Productions, see here:

Part 1: Artist Interview – TSHOLOFELO MMBI

Recently Binnie Christie from The Movement RSA interviewed Tsholofelo Mmbi, a Market Lab graduate who is currently directing a new-ish show called ‘Gomora’.
‘Gomora’ is written and performed by Mlindeli Zondi (also a member of The Movement RSA), and features live music from Prince Shapiro with vocals by Dintshile Mashile. The show premiered at Joburg Theatre earlier this year, and will be showing at the Plat4orm in Newtown later in November… More info to follow soon!
See ticket info here:
Here’s what director Tsholo Mmbi had to say about herself as an artist, and her newly formed company – Eagles Wings Productions:


Do you have any nicknames? 
Lol yes I do. The name is Mashudu but I don’t prefer anyone 
besides my guardian mother to call me by it.

If you had a stage-name, what would it be?
I  would definitely go by Hope

Tell us something about yourself not many other people know.
I’m very talkative

What is your human-power? 
Good listener and approachable

What would your super-power be? 

If you could spend the day with any theatre-maker (dead or alive), 
who would it be?
Warona Seane.

What have been your highlights from the last year?
Great feedback from performing at Hilton Festival with 'Making Mandela'.

As a director, name one of your ‘theatre values’.
Creating original work

Reflect on a moment you felt theatre might be your 'thing'. 
I remember back then in primary school when I was in grade 7,
I was selected to participate in debate. I had prepared my points 
in order but on the day before presentation, I asked my teacher 
if I could do some performance with the grade 3 learners to entertain 
the audience. She just said 'go for it' with a bit of disappointment 
on her face that I was not participating in debate anymore.
There I knew this is my calling, for I had a great vision and I had 
to be the one to direct it. I then called in the grade 3 learners 
in my class and taught them some dance moves as they also taught me 
some that they knew, and I put together a complete performance 
for that day... From the way they entered to the end as they bowed,
ohh I got a feeling of satisfaction.

What advice would you give to aspiring artists?
Always be original and know that it is your duty to heal the nation 
by healing yourself first on stage.

If you could, what magical difference would you make in SA theatre? 
I would definitely face up to financial support problems,
by making more opportunities for the artists whose work speak volumes.

What was the last show you saw and fell in love with?
'The Devil and Billy Markham' - performed by James Kent 
and directed by Jenine Collocott.

Tell us about your company, Eagles Wings Productions.
Eagle Wings Productions is a young black company owned by myself and 
Mlindeli Zondi. It is one of the aspiring production companies dedicated
toward outstanding research of the content, and brings excellency within
the execution of the project, by producing demanded products in different 
genres of the entertainment spectrum which are educative, 
thought-provoking and authentic productions in theatre, TV + film.
The company aims to bring content that resonates with South Africans
and the global market, with universal stories enriched with authentic 
details. On the television segment we aim to produce in-demand work that
challenges the viewers and excites them, and will bring more viewership 
- including drama series, short films, kids’ educational programmes 
and game shows.
Lastly we aim to position ourselves as a leading production company 
in the all relevant platforms and genres of entertainment.

Is there a story behind the company name?
Yes, as we were reading  a book about leadership by John C Maxwell, 
he made a scenario about leadership in every person who is willing 
to get out of their comfort zone. He made an example about ducks and 
eagles, demonstrating how each creature has it own strength and weakness,
but by accepting those character traits and working with them, 
they become stronger. So we, as Eagles Wings, aim to break those 
limitation set within the industry and discover new adventures.

What will you be drinking after the show?
Honestly I have no idea. I might just drink water for the thirst 
I have been feeling for the show to finally showcase, lol.
For more information about Eagles Wings Productions, see here:

‘Out of Joint’ – review by Star Tlali


On Thursday night, the 17th of August 2017, “Out of Joint” opened at The Joburg Theatre (Fringe Theatre) with almost a full house of audience members in the auditorium. The show began in darkness, and we start to hear the voices of the performers on stage asking a variety of questions of: “if I sting you…will you die?/ if I kiss you…will you smile?” as the different spotlights revealed the six  performers on stage.  We start on a journey which explored “the social orders that are bursting out of joint”; as mentioned in the beginning of the show, “Out of Joint” is a Physical Theatre piece that focused on the exploration of the issues of ‘power and powerlessness’. With the cast of two females and four males, we see the power struggles of the individual and the social body throughout the work. Choreographed by the celebrated South African dancer, choreographer, teacher, director, scriptwriter and founder of Vuyani Dance Theatre (VDT), Gregory Maqoma, alongside the Austrian born dancer, choreographer, artistic director, festival curator and founder of steptext dance project in Schwankhalle Bremen, Helge Letonja; you could see the combination of the cross-cultures/training background of the two choreographers in this work.

One of the things I enjoyed the most about this work was the precision and the unison during the ensemble choreography. I enjoyed how much the group phrases reminded me of Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker’s choreographically technique of breaking phrases down into and out of the original phrase, which always creates an interesting dynamic rhythmically & visually to the work.  Each dancer got a chance to show off their skills during their solos, and each solo had a different quality to it, which showed the dancers in their most powerful &  yet vulnerable form as they would somehow get interrupted or consumed by the other bodies in the space.  There was a merge of different styles of dance within the piece, such as hip-hop influences of ‘krump & tutting’, contemporary dance and even a touch of African dance, which added different textures to the work. I really enjoyed the different shapes created by the bodies in the space and the use of space was also as interesting, where the back of the stage was used, creating a separate platform for the piece.

The design for the whole piece was generally very simple and minimal, with the costume choice of everyday clothes in four main colors: blue, red, black and navy green. There was a white cloth with big holes hanging at the back of the stage in which at some point glowed in the dark, was later taken down and back up towards the end of the show. My only concern regarding this set design was that it was not used to its full capacity, in the sense that; I do not think it was needed. There was only one dancer (Mariko Koh) who had a costume change (first with the wedding dress and then in her underwear). I would have loved it if she stayed in her underwear (or at least half dressed), and/or joined by the rest of the ensemble also half-dressed to represent them reclaiming their bodies from the structures of the social body which had all the power in the beginning piece. One thing that caught my attention in terms of the lighting was when there was a blackout for a while, leaving the stage empty with no action, and I personally found it unfortunate because it took me out of the world of the story for a little bit. Though in general the lights were simple and created different shapes around the stage which added different dynamics to the bodies in the space.

Out of Joint” in general was a very abstract piece, because at times it seemed like there were many elements to it for the audience to register at one go, which somewhat alienated the audience at some points. I feel like the work was not for audience members who were not used to physical theatre works; which is the general feeling I got from some audience members after the show. Though for those who enjoy physical theatre, will be able to enjoy the skill of dance presented by the performers as well as find different interpretations to the themes within the work.  With only a four day run at the Fringe Theatre, “Out of Joint” ended on the 20th of August, at 14h00. Those who were able to catch it will walk out experiencing a European-South African collaboration between the choreographers and the performers, exploring issues that are very relevant today in the world as a whole.


Our new theatre baby; ‘The Crucifixion of Amagqwirha’

Last year The Movement RSA brought you ‘Just Antigone’ and this year we’re back with a new setwork! ‘The Crucifixion of Amagqwirha’ is inspired by Arthur Miller’s ‘The Crucible’ – the 2017 setwork for IEB Matric learners.
This is a tale of how gossip and superstition can fiercely capture the mind of a people. Looking at how myth can still live in the imagination, and for some the reality of life, this tale follows a community forced to look at its own faults and dreams.

‘The Crucifixion of Amagqwirha’ will be on at:

National Arts Festival:
4th July – 18:00
5th July – 16:00
6th July – 22:00
7th July – 16:00
8th July – 20:00
B2 Arena

Wits Theatre 969 Festival:
Friday 21st July – 18:30

AMA - Final poster image

Review – Woza Albert

By Nyaki Motloung

There is a beauty in the combination of protest theatre and poor theatre that will live for a thousand years and explains why Woza Albert! will keep returning to our theatres. And for these reasons and many more, it was a so heartwarming for me to see Soweto Theatre’s Red Theatre being packed on the opening night of the play.

Woza Albert! is a political South African satire which imagines the second coming of “Morena” in South Africa during the apartheid-era. Morena is the Christ-like figure whose arrival is much anticipated by many black South Africans and is a threat to the apartheid government as he is rumoured to bring salvation for the black people.

The largely self directed two man cast are required to play many characters such as a street vendor, barber and government officials in a bid to express the varied opinions of the arrival of Morena. And what we see is a spectacle where voices and bodies fill a stage with such a confidence that the (very minimal but effective) set, lighting and costume become just a cherry on top of this delicious cake.

Hamilton Dhlamini is a veteran in the performance of the play and displays the eloquence, wit and comedic timing which come from great discipline and and commitment to this great story. His swift changes from characters such as a black migrant worker to the worker’s white employee are so crisp and as an actor myself, I highly respect his continuining level of commitment to every role.

On the other hand, Bheki Mkhwane is new to the role and this performance was the first time I had seen him perform on a stage, whereas I have watched him many times on television. Filling the shoes of Mncedisi Shabangu, who was previously part of the Woza Albert! duo is no easy role. At times, I found myself missing Shabangu’s humour and ease on stage. However, being a creature of habit, I realised that change isn’t a bad thing. At all. One of the necessities of long living productions such as this, is the ability to re-imagine and alter. And in this case, the re-imaginaing came with the change in casting. It is not Mkhwane’s role to replace Shabangu. He was not tasked to fill anyone’s shoes and he did not; he brought his own shoes and boy, he wore them well.

Mkhwane, for me, brought an element which I can only explain as a father telling a story to his children which is close to his heart (this is not a comment in his age, okay. Ngicela ning’yeke). He takes control of his roles and when he calls izithakazelo there is a beautiful reaction from the audiences with whistling, clapping and a “yaaaaas'” here and there because many black Twitter has taught us new and different ways of expressing ourselves.

Although there were some opening night nerves and minor mishaps which can, and I am sure have been, improved such as forgetting to use props at the correct time and volume drops, the play is truly stunning. Dhlamini and Mkhwane are a two man talent army and a force to be reckoned with. I highly recommend this play and recommend that you you take a friend or three because there are some hilarious moments which you don’t want to be laughing at alone.

The production has only two shows remaining and will close on 22 February. Check out Soweto Theatre’s website to book your tickets.


1st Monologue Monday of 2017

Normally it would be ‘black Monday’ in the theatre-world, but this Monday 6th of February The Movement RSA participated in the 1st ‘Monologue Mondays’ of 2017. The event, hosted by Andz Mpinda and her incredible creative team, was held at The Hive in Braamfontein. The unconventional venue, which usually exhibits artwork, had performers set up in various corners (and a stairway too) as though living sculptures – reminiscent of shows such as Brett Bailey’s ‘Exhibit A’ and Mwenya Kabwe’s ‘Nomads Among Us’. The audience moved from one space to the next, watching as the actors performed either Shakespearian sonnets or modern monologues about love. Love and romance was the theme of the evening, given Valentines Day next week and the artists’ love of theatre in general. At the end of the prepared performances, certain audience members were called up to read ‘love letters’ they had received upon entering the space. These love letters were new pieces by writers asked to create ‘responses’ to a particular Sonnet they’d been given by the organisers. Some were written in sonnet form, others in monologue form, but all were responses Shakespeare would have been proud of (keep a look out for some pieces on our blog).

A big thank you to the organisers of the event, LEON for providing such soulful music, The Hive, the writers, performers and readers, and of course the audience! It was wonderful to collaborate with you all.

Monologue Mondays will take place the 1st Monday of each month – meaning the next one is on the 6th of March (write it in your diary). To get involved or to get more info, kindly contact Andisiwe Mpinda (Director of Entsimini Produce and Monologue Mondays) at

Below is a like to a short video-slash-slideshow of the event. Forgive the poor quality. After all we’re theatre-makers, not film-makers.