Nobesuthu Rayi, the Acting Executive Producer for the National Arts Festival, taking place in Makhanda (Grahamstown), from June 27 to July 7, is the former artistic manager of the PE Opera House. When the opportunity to join the National Arts Festival came about, she grabbed it with both hands as this gave her exactly what she was looking for, which was to broaden her horizons and to work with the greater national and international arts fraternity. She gave us her top 5 selection from this year’s spectacular programme.
Ingoma Ka Tiyo Soga
Tiyo Soga was the first black South African to be ordained. This was back in 1856, and this visual and performance art piece by Sikhumbuzo Makandula, says Nobesuthu, is a reminder of the state of our country. “As I look into this piece, I am reminded of the state of our country and I can’t stop myself from hearing Tiyo Soga’s songs in my head:
Lizalis’ idinga lakho, (Fullfil/realise your promise)
Thixo Nkosi yenyaniso! (Faithful/Truthful God)
Zonk’ iintlanga, zonk’ izizwe, (All races, all nations,)
Ma zizuze usindiso. (must be saved).”
Choreographed and directed by Luyanda Sidiya, co-founder of the Luthando Arts Academy in Sebokeng, ‘Amawethu’ tells a human story that can solve the problem of who we are as people, and also solve the distortion which guides us to believe that African spirituality was uncivilized.
Celebrating the African Song
Baritone Dumza Maswana pays homage to two of the Eastern Cape’s own song birds Mama Madosini and Mama Nofinishi Dywili. This piece will take audience members on a journey through the majestic views of the Eastern Cape, whose songs and melodies are echoed through the valleys and mountains. The raw isiXhosa indigenous songs will be sung here, in our home of legends.
German Chinese choreographer Hannah Ma, will treat us to a contemporary dance production that is about the search of home and the longing for rituals that transcend cultural boundaries.
Drakensberg Boy Choir
“This is one of those feel-good shows that I know I will just sit down and be reminded of how beautiful our country can be if only we could allow it to be such. I can’t wait to be taken through a melodic, harmonious journey by these young people paying tribute to many of our South African musicians.”