African Insight Launches New Operation on Pongola Game Reserve, KZN, South Africa

African Insight Launches New Operation on Pongola Game Reserve, KZN, South Africa

African Insight, one of the continent’s leading  providers of inspirational, educational and empowering conservation programmes has announced that it has extended its site offerings for groups to the White Elephant Lodge on Pongola Game Reserve in northern KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.

African Insight has been providing academic field trips and youth development programmes to universities, colleges and schools for over 20 years.  Destinations include Kruger National Park, Blyde River Canyon, KZN Drakensberg Mountains and Greater St. Lucia Wetland Park.

“In 2013 we were contracted to train 16 community members in hospitality and through this process were able to further develop our  unique brand of academic tourism on the community-owned Somkhanda Game Reserve in the Zululand region in KwaZulu-Natal,” explains Andrew Anderson, MD of Africa Insight.  

Anderson explains that “this led to the establishment of the African Insight Academy on Somkhanda with the vision to Inspire, Educate and Empower future global environmental custodians locally and abroad.  The facilities developed on Somkhanda include two safari style tented student camps that can accommodate 20 and 30 students respectively and a rustic “sleep out” camp.”

At the end of October 2018, the contract expired, and the hospitality side of the operation was handed back to Somkhanda’s management company.  African Insight Academy continues to operate on Somkhanda as a venue for its highly successful academic and youth development programmes whilst looking for new venues to accommodate the growing demand.

“The market for additional capacity to accommodate groups led us to talks with the owners of Pongola Game Reserve’s White Elephant operation, who loved the idea and they have now established  a new 30 bed facility for groups which was launched in January 2019,” says Anderson.

“Our African Insight Academy on Somkhanda and now on Pongola provides practical field experience in wildlife behaviour and management exposing students to a variety of research, monitoring and conservation programmes and community engagement.”

“Conservation and wildlife tourism that does not embrace the surrounding local community is unsustainable,” continues Anderson. “It is because of this that we have been actively involved in building sustainable socio-economic bridges between Somkhanda and the community resulting in the established of several programmes, such as cattle dipping, early childhood development and authentic homestays.  These programmes provide real support to the community whilst offering students an educational insight into contemporary traditional cultural and social-political issues. These same principles will be applied in the development of the site at Pongola.”

“We have had a phenomenal response over the years to these programmes, which has led to the need for more sites,” says Anderson. “And of course, there is nothing quite like an authentic African bush experience to capture the hearts and minds of our future conservationists, scientists and the like.”

The University of Roehampton in the UK has had a decade long partnership with African Insight Academy: with the two institutions working together to deliver the module Conservation. People, and Wildlife: South Africa Field Course to final year undergraduate students of anthropology, biology and zoology.  Prof Garry Marvin, Professor of Anthropology at the University, has seen the positive impact these trips have had on them and the university, saying “the close engagement that our students, through the field trips, have with the complex issues of conservation in situ, offers a rich educational experience beyond that which they would have from only reading the academic literature on conservation.”

Dr Heinz Kohrs, owner of White Elephant Lodge is excited to partner with the African Insight Academy on Pongola Game Reserve and looks forward to “being part of this important initiative that is having a positive impact on the next generation of global citizens and environmental custodians”.

For more information about the bespoke educational, development and academic programmes created by African Insight Academy , contact or go to





Media enquiries:

Andrew Anderson

MD African Insight Academy







Sisters of the Wilderness Premieres Internationally at IFFR on January 26, 2019

Media Release


Sisters of the Wilderness, the social impact feature-length documentary, which won best South African Feature Documentary at the Durban International Film Festival in July last year, and qualified for an Oscar consideration, will have its International Premiere at the International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR) on January 26, 2019.

Set in the iMfolozi wilderness, South Africa, in the oldest game park in Africa, the iconic Hluhluwe-iMfolozi park, Sisters of the Wilderness tells the story of five young Zulu women venturing into the wilderness for the first time on a journey of healing and self-discovery, reminding us that we are all intimately linked to nature. 


The film follows the women as they walk in big game country and camp under the stars, totally surrounded by wild animals. Exposed to the elements and carrying on their backs all they need for the journey, they face emotional and physical challenges, and learn what it takes to survive in the wild. 


“We want to ‘transfer’ the audience to an ancient place where no barriers separate human and nature,” says creator / producer, Ronit Shapiro, of One Nature Films, whose experience in the iMfolozi wilderness and a meeting with South Africa’s legendary conservationist, the late Dr Ian Player, inspired her to make this film. “A journey into wilderness is an intense experience where one can expect to undergo a personal transformation.” 

The film also explores the plight of the primordial iMfolozi wilderness which is severely threatened by an expanding open-cast coal mine on its border, and the intensifying rhino poaching calamity in that area.

Award-wining South African documentary filmmaker, Karin Slater, directed and shot the film.  “I was born in Empangeni and spent my early years, close to the iMfolozi wilderness. I have a deep love and connection to this area. I know what the wilderness has done for me over the years, ” says Karin.

Sisters of the Wilderness is the foundation for an outreach and audience engagement programme that will use multiple platforms to re-connect global audiences with nature, and empower young people, especially women. The social impact programme was launched in South Africa in September 2018 in celebration of Heritage Month in the country, and World Rhino Day.

 “We are delighted that the film was selected to have its International Premiere at the renowned International Film Festival in Rotterdam and we are looking forward to sharing the story of how the film came about, in the Q&A with the audience after each screening,” says Ronit. 


Sisters of the Wilderness will be screened at IFFR on:

26 Jan 2019    20:15   Pathé 7       - Public

27 Jan 2019    20:00   Cinerama 6 - Public

29 Jan 2019    13:15   Cinerama 7 - Press & Industry

29 Jan 2019    21:15   Cinerama 2 – Public

For more information go to :




Note to editors

Electronic Press Kit:

For additional information about the Sisters of the Wilderness film and social impact programme contact:     

Creator / Producer, Ronit Shapiro Email: OR Skype: ronit.shapiro   Tel/ Whatapp: +44 (0)7971 196446 

South African Publicist – Sharlene Versfeld –  +27 (0)83 326 3235


About One Nature Films:

One Nature Films is a social impact film production company based in London, UK, founded by Ronit Shapiro in 2011. Our vision is to create engaging high quality films that inspire, connect and make a difference. We believe in the power of film to make social and environmental impact. One Nature Films has a deep-rooted passion for the environment, the natural world and human society.  Our name ‘One Nature’ reflects our belief in the oneness of humanity and the interconnectedness of all things. We strive to be ethical and socially responsible. One Nature, beyond film-making, is a social enterprise focused on the wellness of people and the environment. Our aim is to bring about a positive social impact in any project we develop.

Key Credits:

Film Director & Cinematographer: Karin Slater 

Project Creator / Producer: Ronit Shapiro 

Executive Producers: Ken and Liz Whitney, Antonia Bothner, Ronit Shapiro

Editor: Anja Bombelli

Composer: Ian Arber

Sound Design & Mix: Stef Albertyn

Grading & Online Edit: Richard Starkey

Production Company: One Nature Films 

Social Media Links:

The project’s website:





Indiegogo 2017

Indiegogo 2016

Highlights from the film’s sound track



Kingsley Holgate and his Cape Town to Kathmandu expedition team realised a dream by finally reaching one of the highest paved roads in the world

Media Release

Update – Kingsley Holgate Foundation’s Cape Town to Kathmandu Expedition

Last week Kingsley Holgate and his Cape Town to Kathmandu expedition team realised a dream by finally reaching one of the highest paved roads in the world with their Land Rover Discoverys. With a maximum elevation of 4,714 metres, the Pakistani Karakoram Highway and its treacherous passes is often referred to as the Eighth Wonder of the World.

It’s here on this ‘Roof of the World’ where the three highest mountain ranges on the planet collide – the Himalayas, the Hindu Kush and the Karakorams. This is the fabled Shangri-La (The Kingdom of Lost Horizons) – a land of snow leopards, bears, apricot orchards, stone-built villages and hardy people. The area plays home to vast glaciers, alpine deserts and 33 of the highest mountains on Earth, like the snow-covered 8,126m peak of Nanga Parbat, Pakistan’s second-highest mountain after the 8,610m ‘Killer Mountain’ of K2, which is only exceeded by Mount Everest.

“For months we’ve dreamed about achieving this major expedition objective,” said Holgate. “It’s a long, fascinating and sometimes arduous journey of mountain passes, tunnels, wash-aways, and landslides. We find ourselves squeezing past colourful, jingling Bedford trucks; the Landys’ tyres just millimetres from the edge of dizzying drops into steep gorges where the green waters of the Indus River tumble and meander. We’ve met police checkpoints and travelled in convoys, all flavoured with the friendliness of the amazingly tough Baltistan people who inhabit this rough mountainous region which through centuries of the Silk Road trade, has linked northern Pakistan to China.”

Near the picturesque Hunza Valley, Kingsley and crew broke away for some tough off-road sections of the ancient Silk Road. It’s yet another high-altitude test for the expedition’s two Discoverys which haven’t missed a beat. The Discovery’s 283mm ground clearance has been key in tackling the rocky conditions, while the multi-mode Terrain Response 2 has allowed the team to adapt the vehicles’ settings to varying terrain – some of which is more easily passable by goats than cars – with a simple turn of a knob.

But the Karakoram Highway will soon be unpassable by any vehicle. A new, faster highway is being built through these mountains by the Chinese to quicken the transportation of goods to the Port of Karachi on the Arabian Sea. The waters of a new dam on the Indus will also flood large sections of the old Karakoram Highway, which when it was built in the 1970s, claimed a life for each of its 883km.

“Land Rovers have taken us from the southern tip of the African continent to the Roof of the World,” concludes Kingsley. “What a great feeling! It’s been a special privilege to travel this iconic road which will one day be only a memory.”

The Cape Town to Kathmandu expedition will now travel south across the Punjab to Lahore in time for the daily military ceremony at Wagah, which marks the sensitive border with India. Then it’s on to New Delhi, the famed Taj Mahal at Agra and onwards again to meet the Ganges at Varanasi en route to the final destination of Kathmandu in the Himalayan Kingdom of Nepal.

Under the shadow of the great Mount Everest, the team will ceremoniously empty a symbolic, decorated Zulu calabash of south Atlantic seawater carried all the way Cape Town and will present the expedition’s Madiba Scroll of Peace and Goodwill to representatives of Kathmandu as a symbolic gesture of friendship from the people of South Africa. Hundreds of well-wishers have already added kind-hearted messages to the Scroll along the route, which has successfully crossed southern Africa, Turkey, Georgia, Armenia, Iran, Pakistan and India.

Follow the expedition on Facebook - Kingsley Holgate Foundation.

SPAR KZN Brings Festive Cheer to Field Rangers at Hluhluwe - Imfolozi Park



SPAR KZN Brings Festive Cheer to Field Rangers at Hluhluwe - Imfolozi Park


This weekend (November 23/24), SPAR KZN visited various ranger camps in the Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park with the Hilltop (Hluhluwe) and Imfolozi Honorary Officers to deliver 190 food hampers to the men and women working in the field.


This is the 5th year that SPAR has visited the park to show appreciation for the work the rangers do for conservation and most importantly for the protection of the endangered rhinos. In addition, SPAR KZN has committed an amount of R40 000 raised from its  2018 Charity Golf Day, towards the much-needed upgrading of infrastructure in a number of the camps.


Speaking at the hand-over, Clive Honman, Chairman of the Hilltop Honorary Officers, thanked SPAR for their efforts in bringing a little cheer to the field rangers who are at the forefront of conservation and anti-poaching. He thanked the field rangers, citing how grateful the Honorary Officers, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, visitors and the people of the country are, for their work and dedication, often spending many long weeks away from their families.


“We are once again delighted to be able to utilise our resources to offer a token of our appreciation to the men and women working tirelessly to protect our natural resources at the Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park,” says MD of SPAR KZN Max Oliva. “Heartfelt thanks must also go to the volunteer Honorary Officers, who give of their time and energy to support the park and the field rangers in the work they do. We would like to encourage more people and organisations to get involved in supporting them and their initiatives.”



Action in Autism’s Year End Social 

Media Release

Action in Autism’s Year End Social 

Action in Autism invites all who are interested to celebrate the end of a successful year at their annual Year End Social on Saturday 1 December from 10am to 2pm at the Centre’s grounds at 105 Haig Road, Parkhill, Durban North. Autistic people, their families and supporters are welcome to join in, relax and enjoy a day of fun and games, a jumping castle, bubble machine, face painting and goodie bags for the little ones. The event costs R50 per family, and those who cannot afford it are sponsored by the organisation.


Action in Autism, in operation since 2005, provides free support, advice, research and information to autistic people and their families. The Centre, situated on land donated by the Department of Public Works (KZN), houses its flagship project, an early intervention and therapy programme for autistic children aged between 2 and 6 years. A free monthly diagnostic clinic is offered to families with no access to medical aid, and Action in Autism runs bi-annual training workshops, hosted by a team of professionals, that aim to share information and transfer skills and techniques for communication to parents and professionals.


Action in Autism does not discriminate against any child for reasons of socio-economic status or other criteria relating to financial status or residency location, and the organisation is therefore able to assist and make a meaning full impact in the lives of children from dire living conditions and disadvantaged backgrounds who would not otherwise have access to any services or interventions. Currently, funding is sought for eleven children whose families are unable to afford the school fees. Action in Autism is committed to providing a highly effective intervention service for these children, and to supporting and empowering the families over the long-term in order to make a significant impact on the well-being of the family and caregivers of each child over a sustained period of time.


The organisation’s next planned project is the development of a skills transference workspace and small and micro enterprise businesses that skill and sustain people with neurobiological conditions and autism.  According the Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research, there are approximately four million people in South Africa with disabilities, and six hundred and fifty million world-wide – around 10% of the world’s population. Although both legislation and the National Skills Development Strategy promote the employment of disabilities in South Africa, there is still much work to be done.


Action in Autism does not receive any funding from government, and welcomes support through cash or kind, or through volunteering.  If you would like to attend the Year-end Social, to make a donation or support a child, or for more information about the services offered by the organisation, please call 031 563 3039, email, or visit the website at



SA Indian Gangster Thriller Mayfair opens to great reviews


Gangster tale ‘Mayfair’, the fourth film by award-winning director Sara Blecher (‘Ayanda’, ‘Dis Ek Anna’, ‘Otelo Burning’) opened to rave reviews this past weekend. This comes after several sold-out screenings in London.

‘Mayfair’ tells the story of prodigal son Zaid Randera (Ronak Patani) who returns home to Mayfair in Johannesburg, where his overbearing father Aziz (Rajesh Gopie) – a thriving import-exporter and occasional money launderer and loan shark – is facing death threats. Zaid has been unfairly dismissed from his job as an aid worker, and on his return he finds himself living in the shadow of his father and his dodgy dealings. When a murderous rival gang threatens the family’s business, Zaid is forced back into the life he’d hoped to leave behind.

Channel24’s Rozanne Els wrote, ‘The elements of this story are greatly compelling, and Sara Blecher methodically pulls each of these closer together to eventually become a tight and gripping conclusion.’ She called the film ‘a much richer blend of themes than what any genre classification…can  completely encompass.’ She praised Ronak Patani, the British actor who plays Zaid. ‘With genuine commitment, [he takes] the character’s perception of himself as a compassionate, well-intentioned man who is nothing like his father to one of disgust, and resigned to his inevitable fate.’

‘Mayfair’ follows on from the recent success of Indian stories set in South Africa, including ‘Material’, ‘Keeping up with the Kandasamys’ and ‘Broken Promises’.

South Africa Indian community site Indian Spice, said, ‘Blecher delivers a taut, fine-tuned thriller that is guaranteed to keep you on tenterhooks.’

Notably, BBC News visited the bustling suburb of Mayfair, and did a video interview with Blecher, who said that the film reveals a part of Johannesburg seldom seen on screen, and shines a light on a community often side-lined by mainstream popular culture.

In the role of Aziz is Rajesh Gopie, a well-known South African Indian actor, comedian, writer and voice artist who has appeared in such television series as Generations and Zero Tolerance, and is best known for his role in South Africa’s highest grossing film of 2017, ‘Keeping up with the Kandasamys’, a comedy that tells the story of a long-standing rivalry between two families, the Kandasamys and the Naidoos.

Shady businessman and long-standing rival of the Randera family Jalaal is played by Jack Devnarain, who has performed in numerous TV and film productions, including the heist thriller 31 Million Reasons. Devnarain describes his character as ‘a puppet-master dealing in money, power and blood’.

Movie news and reviews site Screen Anarchy praised the film, noting that the crime drama is part of ‘the current wave of high end South African films’, and that ‘Mayfair’ looks at the Muslim-Indian communities of Johannesburg through ‘a tale of conflicted loyalties and escalating violence’.

‘The film explores similar themes to the current Saif Ali Khan headed thriller ‘Sacred Games’, the first Indian Netflix Original web series, which has proved to be a game changer in the Indian entertainment scene,’ says Helen Kuun, MD of Indigenous Film Distribution. ‘The show received a huge thumbs-up from audiences and shot the lights out in India. It explores themes to those at the heart of ‘Mayfair’, including corruption, crime and the dark underworld that exists in almost every urban setting.’

Indigenous Film Distribution:

View Trailer Here:


All Media Queries:

David alex wilson

Mad Moth Communications

Cell: +27 83 629 2587


Flatfoot Dance Company presents “N’gila” (I am here) - an integrated dance performance with dancers with Down Syndrome.

Media Release

Flatfoot Dance Company presents “N’gila” (I am here) - an integrated dance performance with dancers with Down Syndrome.


Flatfoot Dance Company is proud to present its second annual integrated dance programme working with dancers with Down Syndrome. “N’gila/I am here” is choreography by Lliane Loots in collaboration with the eight dancers from Flatfoot Dance Company and the fondly referred to Flatfoot Downie Dance Company at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre on Tuesday 20 November at 6.30pm.


This landmark once-off performance will feature the unique partnering of the professional Flatfoot dancers with their Downie Dance Company members. This unique dance programme is unprecedented in South Africa and is a celebration of the power of dance to shift lives and to negotiate difference and inclusivity. Flatfoot celebrates its 15th anniversary this year and has - as one of its core values - the practice of dance (in education and in performance) as a tool towards what it calls “living democracy”. This dance programme celebrates community across the divides of race, gender and disability.


The programme began in August 2017 with the visit of Dutch choreographer Adriaan Luteijn of Introdans and his collaboration with Flatfoot. The company has continued this work over 2018 and this performance is the culmination of this year-long programme.


 “N’gila/I am here” will not only move and delight audiences but will challenge the very core foundations of who we think can and should dance professionally. Four Flatfoot dancers (Sifiso Khumalo, Qhawe Ndimande, Jabu Siphika and Zinhle Nzama) partner up with their counterparts, Karl Hebbelman, Charles Phillips, Kevin Govender and Michaela Munro in a dance explosion that is an affirmation of faith, courage and the joy of dance.


Flatfoot’s award-winning choreographer, Lliane Loots says, “Creating this work has been a journey into discovering community and into discovering what it means to engage a firm and loving assertion of self and identity. All nine of us in the rehearsal room have been forced to look inward and to see that space between who we think we are and who we want to be, and I have been humbled every day by what these eight dancers bring to making dance.' 


As a special offering the five Flatfoot Junior Company members will also perform “Sesfikile!” as the curtain-raiser at this performance. This work won critical acclaim at the 2018 JOMBA! Fringe.


This looks to be one of the highlights on Durban’s dance calendar and this one-off performances is being offed as a fundraiser to help support the Flatfoot Down Syndrome Dance programme for 2019. Tickets are limited and are R80 each. To pre-book tickets contact: Pre-booked tickets can be collected at the Sneddon box office from 1 hr before the start of show on Tuesday, 20 November. Patrons should note that there are no card facilities are available at the venue.



 Captions to all photos by Val Adamson:

Four FLATFOOT dancers (Sifiso Khumalo, Qhawe Ndimande, Jabu Siphika and Zinhle Nzama) partner up with their counterparts, Karl Hebbelman, Charles Phillips, Kevin Govender and Michaela Munro in a dance explosion that is an affirmation of faith, courage and the joy of dance. Pictured here are the dancers in their performance of ‘cardiac output” at last year’s JOMBA! Contemporary Dance Experience.

Winners of the Poetry Africa Festival Schools’ Competition Announced

Media Release

Winners of the Poetry Africa Festival Schools’ Competition Announced


The six winners of the Poetry Africa Festival’s schools’ competition were announced last night (October 16) at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre

 The festival has an annual schools’ competition that calls for local young poets to submit their work in English or IsiZulu.

The winners in the English category were, in first place Kelsey Hagerman from Danville Park Girl’s High for her poem titled The Boy with Ocean Eyes; in second place, Sunaina Sathyapal from Danville Park Girl’s high for her poem titled Ocean of Tears and in third place Tariq Trenor from Bechet High School for his poem titled The Paralysed Dove.

In first place in the isiZulu category was Lindelwa Khumalo from Escourt High School for her poem titled Mina Ngagana Ngimncane Ngakhala Ubaba Wavuma, in second place Bongumenzi Thwala from Zandlazethu high School for his poem titled Amaciko and in third place Sihle Gumede from Inhlakanipho High School for his poem titled Mfundo Uyisikhali Sababekezelayo,

Celebrating its 22nd anniversary, the festival, which is supported through principal funding from the eThekwini Municipality, features a host of local and international poets, at various venues and schools around Durban.

The main festival programme runs at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre until Friday (October 19) and will close with the Festival Finale at the BAT Centre on Saturday, October 20 from 19:00.

For more information follow Poetry Africa across all social media platforms.



Caption: Seen at the Schools Poetry Competition Awards that took place at the 22nd Poetry Africa Festival at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre on Tuesday, October 15 from left to right were 1st place winner in the English category Kelsey Hagerman from Danville Park Girl’s High, 2nd place winner in the English category Sunaina Sathyapal from Danville Park Girl’s High, 3rd place winner in the English category Tariq Trenor from Bechet High School, 3rd place winner in the Zulu category Sihle Gumede from Inhlakanipho High School, 2nd place winner in the Zulu category Bongumenzi Thwala from Zandlazethu high School, 1st place winner in the Zulu category Lindelwa Khumalo from Escourt High School and Ukrainian poet Taras Malkovych.

Nolwazi Magwaza

Memeza Communications

Mobile: +27 (0) 76 638 3546

Tel: +27 (0) 31 811 5628



Poetry Africa Festival Finale – Saturday, October 20

Poetry Africa Festival Finale – Saturday, October 20



The 22nd Poetry Africa Festival, which is currently running at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre at UKZN, with workshops at various venues, will have its ever-popular final event at the BAT Centre with a workshop, book launch event, the Grand Slam Competition and Festival Finale on Saturday, October 20.


Saturday’s feast of poetry begins with a Creative Writing workshop with Mphutlane wa Bofelo from 10am to 11am, with a number of book launches from 9am to 12 noon hosted by Khwezi Becker. That afternoon the popular Open Mic session hosted by Nolulamo Maquthu takes place from 1pm to 3pm with the much-loved and highly energised Durban Slam Competition taking place from 4pm to 5.30pm hosted by Durban poet Page Ngwenya. All these events are free and open to the public.


The day culminates in a celebration of poetry at 7pm as all the featured poets from the festival take to the stage in what is always a festive experience for participants and audiences alike. The finale is hosted by Quaz Roodt, and features the 21 participants in the festival from around the globe including Miriam Cano (Spain), Upile Chisala (Malawi), TJ Dema (Botswana), Tanya Evanson (Canada), Myroslav Laiuk and Taras Malkovych (Ukraine), Phelelani Makhanya, Vuyelwa Maluleke, Mak Manaka, Lebo Mashile, Nkateko Masinga, BM Mdletshe, Gcina Mhlophe, Sandile Ngidi, Mphutlane Wa Bofelo, Matete Motsoaledi and Emmah Mabye (South Africa), Philip Meersman (Belgium), Daniel B. Summerhill (USA), Rafeef Zaidah (Palestine) and Séverine Daucourt-Fridriksson (France)


And to wrap it all up, electic soul band The Muffinz closes off the evening with a party until late.


Tickets for the Festival Finale are R120 at the door. All the other events on that day are free.


For more information and the full festival programme go to




Nolwazi Magwaza

Memeza Communications

Mobile: +27 (0) 76 638 3546

Tel: +27 (0) 31 811 5628



30th Jazz Jol at Centre for Jazz and Popular Music, Durban 27 October at 7pm

The Big Jazz Jol is Back !

30th edition on October 27 at Centre for Jazz and Popular Music


The ever-popular annual Jazz Jol has a stellar line-up for this year’s edition that takes place at the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Centre for Jazz and Popular Music, on Saturday, 27 October at 7pm.


Celebrating its 30th year, the Jazz Jol features composer/pianists Burton Naidoo and Sibusiso “Mash” Mashiloane and the much-loved UKZN Big Band.


SAMRO award-winning Durban-born pianist, arranger and composer Burton Naidoo, will lead the UKZN Big Band, and will also perform his much-talked about compositional adventure ‘Our Song’. This work creates a backdrop for iconic speeches of President Nelson Mandela and other famous leaders of South African politics. Written for solo piano and track, the audience can expect speeches from the Rivonia Trial, Praise singing from Sthembile Mlangeni and Zolani Mkhiva at the inauguration, as well as FW De Klerk’s announcement to free Nelson Mandela at Parliament in 1990.


Sibusiso “Mash” Mashiloane, is a prolific young pianist whose academic and performance credentials speak volumes for the kind of passion and discipline he has for music. He tours extensively, has produced three albums in three years, and was recently nominated for the prestigious international Afrima Awards in the categories of best male in Southern Africa and best African Jazz.


Mashiloane is currently doing his PHD focusing on South African composers. He also finds time to teach and organize live music performances with his students focusing on South African composers.  Mashiloane will perform a selection of his own compositions inspired by the South African music landscape.


Speaking of his love for SA music and composers Mashiloane says: “The musicians and composers that inspire me, are the ones that take pride in their identity and are not only driven by their musical skills, but also by their relevance and accuracy. It is so important that we embrace the different characters that our society breeds. If we do not do let our identity influence our music, the significance of being part of a society is lost.


Mashiloane will perform with Menzi Cele and Zoe The Seed on vocals, Boyi Mokhatla on drums and Qhubekani Mthethwa on bass guitar.


The UKZN Big Band led by Burton Naidoo will perform some old Big Band favourites including Have you Met Miss Jones, Take the 'A' Train, and I've got You Under My Skin.


New arrangements from John Kordalewski, as well as arrangements by students Micale Leon, Phuti Mofakeng, Kgethi Nkotsi and Sinalo Zulu will be featured.  And just to get everyone into a festive spirit the Big Band will perform two Christmas Carols.


As a warm-up and precursor to the annual Jazz Jol, UKZN Jazz Ensemble will perform on 17 and 24 October at 6pm at the Centre for Jazz and Popular Music, University of KwaZulu-Natal.


Proceeds from these two concerts as well as the Jazz Jol will go to the Ronnie Madonsela Scholarship that assists disadvantaged jazz students at UKZN with financial aid or support.


As part of the 30th anniversary celebrations of this Scholarship, the Centre for Jazz and Popular Music is also proud to announce a legacy project of the release of a double CD of the Piano Passions concert held in Howard College Theatre earlier this year. The solo piano concert featured Prof Darius Brubeck and his former students and illustrious UKZN alumni, Melvin Peters, Nishlyn Ramanna, Burton Naidoo, Debbie Mari, Andile Yenana and Neil Gonsalves.  To purchase contact Thuli Zama on 031 260 3385 or .


Tickets for the Jazz Ensemble concerts on 17 and 24 October are R80 for general admission, R50 for pensioners and R25 for students and for the Jazz Jol are R130 for general admission, R90 for pensioners, R70 for students and can be purchased at the door.


Singing for 67 Blankets, Wednesday 10th October 2018, Centre for Jazz and Popular Music

Singing for 67 Blankets, Wednesday 10th October 2018, Centre for Jazz and Popular Music

The UKZN School of Arts presents 'Singing for 67 Blankets' a Vocal Showcase featuring singers from the UKZN Music Discipline at the Centre for Jazz and Popular Music on Wednesday 10th October at 6.00pm. 


 The evening of Song includes a varied programme of Opera, Classical Voice, Popular Music, Jazz, Isicathamiya, solo and ensemble singing. This concert not only provides a platform to showcase talented, diverse musicians in the School of Arts, it also provides an opportunity to make a contribution to the national charity '67Blankets'. Singers in the Music Discipline have contributed in various ways including knitting squares or whole blankets and of course their performances, for the '67 Blankets' campaign. The blankets will be presented to the charity representatives at the concert before being distributed to people and communities in need across the city. 


The concert will include the close-harmony Jazz Vocal group UKZN Voices under the direction of Debbie Mari; the Pop Voice Ensemble led by Durban Theatre personality Anthony Stonier, Opera soloists Wayne Mkhize, Khulekani Miya, Margaret Mfayela and Bulelwa Msane;  Jazz vocalists Menzi Cele, Lwazi Khuzwayo, Nolwazi Dlamini, Nomfundo Cele and Josie Matabola; Pop singers Nobuhle Khuzwayo, Tony Hlangu, Nhlanhla Mthethwa, Nomcebo Luthuli and Minenhle Skhosana; the UKZN Opera Ensemble directed by Lionel Mkhwanazi and the UKZN AMD Isicathamiya Ensemble directed by Nu Luthuli. You can expect to hear Jazz standards such as I Could Write A Book, In a Mellow Tone and Doxy; Pop favourites I’ll Rise Up and Have You Ever; Opera classics including Habanera and Giuseppe Verdi’s Bella Figlia Dell ’Amore alongside South African compositions Mme le ntate and eThekwini by the late Andile Mseleku.

There’ll be CD giveaways, Popup  Society vouchers up for grabs and music for everyone! Please note this concert will run longer than the usual weekly Wednesday CJPM concerts so why not bring your picnic basket along – cash bar available – it is after all an extended mid-week singing celebration!


Join us at The Centre for Jazz and Popular music (CJPM) , Level 2, Shepstone Building at UKZN Howard College Campus on Wednesday 10th  October 2018 at 18:00. Doors open at 5.30pm show starts at 6:00pm. R80 for general admission // R50 pensioners // R25 for students. Reminder: a longer concert than usual. Please contact Thuli on 031 2603385 or email for more details




Kingsley Holgate Foundation - Youth Messages of Hope - World Rhino Day - 22 September

Africa & Beyond – the next world-first Kingsley Holgate Expedition



Well known explorer Kingsley Holgate’s latest expedition ‘Cape Town to Kathmandu’ has a special rhino conservation focus and is carrying messages of solidarity against rhino poaching from South African youth to Chitwan National Park in Nepal. 

In a first-ever youth-focussed rhino conservation activation between the two countries, the expedition team will return to South Africa with reciprocal messages of support from Nepalese children.


Like Africa, Asia’s rhino populations have also been decimated by poaching, driven mainly by demand for rhino horn from China and Vietnam.  Today, less than 2,000 greater one-horned rhinos remain in the wild, with only two populations containing more than 100 rhinos: Kaziranga National Park in India and Chitwan National Park in Nepal.

“Chitwan National Park, despite being on the border with China, is a rhino conservation success story,” said Kingsley.  “Tens of thousands of greater one-horned rhinoceros once roamed throughout South East Asia, but the population was reduced by poaching and human population explosion to only a few surviving pockets.

“Nepal’s population reached a low of just 100 rhino in the 1960s but today, Chitwan is home to a growing population of 600 greater one-horned rhino, thanks to political will, support from the King of Nepal and commitment from neighbouring communities.”

Holgate is a keen conservationist and founder of the award-winning Rhino Art youth education campaign, which in partnership with Project Rhino, has now reached over 500,000 school children throughout South Africa and abroad in the past five years.  Its premise is simple yet effective: using art as the medium, children living in communities bordering game reserves receive a fun-filled, rhino conservation lesson and are encouraged to create their own Rhino Art messages.  The programme also assists game reserves to build good relations with their neighbouring communities and generates awareness of the real threat rhino poaching poses to tourism and rural job creation.

Using a specially-designed Rhino Art template that contains both the South African and Nepalese flags and images of both African and Asian rhino species, the Cape Town to Kathmandu expedition visited schools in the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal, conducting educational Rhino Art events and soccer matches. 

“We were amazed at the response,” said well-known conservationist Sheelagh Antrobus, who heads up the expedition’s community conservation work.  “The children not only created amazing rhino-themed art pieces but also wrote heartfelt messages of solidarity to their counterparts in Nepal.”

Hundreds of Rhino Art messages from South African children are now stored in the expedition’s three Land Rovers and are en route to Nepal.  These will be handed over to Nepalese conservation officials and children living in communities bordering Chitwan National Park, before Kingsley and the team head to Kathmandu for the expedition’s finale in mid-December. 




For further details contact:

Sheelagh Antrobus email

‘Sisters of the Wilderness’ Launches Outreach and Audience Engagement Programme


‘Sisters of the Wilderness’ Launches Outreach and Audience Engagement Programme

Saturday, 22 September, in Celebration of World Rhino Day & South Africa’s Heritage Month


Sisters of the Wilderness, the social impact feature-length documentary, which recently won best South African Feature Documentary at the Durban International Film Festival and qualifies for an Oscar consideration, is the foundation for an outreach and audience engagement programme that will use multiple communication platforms to raise awareness, inspire, communicate and engage audiences worldwide.


The outreach programme launches on World Rhino Day (22 September) at Nondumiso and Shiyikosi Schools near the Northern part of Hluhluwe where the film is set, with another screenings in Somkhele at the Isolesizwe Film Festival, organised by well-known conservationist Sheila Berry, schedule for Heritage Day on 24 September. These screenings are followed by screenings in the midlands communities that are home to the main characters in the film, with the first being shown at the Midlands Community College on 25 September.


The film, which follows the healing and transformation journey of five young Zulu women in the wilderness, is set in South Africa’s iconic and highly important natural and cultural heritage gem, the Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park, in KwaZulu-Natal. It highlights the threat to this valuable wilderness and its wildlife - the rhino, elephant and other species.


“We chose to launch our impact programme on South Africa’s Heritage Month and World Rhino Day because these two occasions are closely related to the themes in the film and to the project social impact goals,” says project Creator and Producer, Ronit Shapiro of One Nature Films.


“It is very important for us to start the programme in the communities bordering the Hluhluwe-iMfolozi park since one of our key impact goals is to help in the efforts to save the iMfolozi Wilderness from the threat of illegal hunting and unsustainable mining,” adds Ronit.


“We believe that communities can play a major role in the efforts to protect South Africa’s natural and cultural heritage, and we hope that through the film and a facilitated discussion after the screening, young people and community members will be empowered to get involved and find solution to issues affecting them and wild nature in their surroundings.” 


Each screening will be facilitated by local community members who have many years of experience in education, community engagement and are actively working in areas related to the themes in the film: women empowerment and wilderness conservation.


“We worked closely with these facilitators during the film production and provided them with specific materials for the facilitation sessions. They bring to the audience engagement a wealth of knowledge and wisdom from their day to day work as educationalists, wilderness / nature guides, and cultural advocates,” explains Shapiro.


The screenings will be followed up by an interactive discussion about the themes that the film highlights. The audience will also be asked to fill out feedback questionnaires to help with the impact evaluation.


In addition to the screenings in KwaZulu-Natal, the film is also joining the ‘Ignite Your Rights’ outreach tour, organised by the non-for-profit Sunshine Cinema, which uses free solar-powered interactive impact screenings to stimulate young people’s engagement. The tour starts in South Africa in October and then continues on to communities in Zimbabwe, Zambia and Malawi.


“We are in conversations with several other organisations in South Africa that work with young people, and we are looking forward to enhance our outreach through collaborations with like-minded organisations. We are also actively looking for funding and sponsors to support our expanding programme. Anyone interested can contact us if they wish to get involved,” says Shapiro.


The film continues its film festival screenings in South Africa at the Cape Town International Film Market and Festival, the Jozi film festival and the Mzansi Women Film Festival.


Screening Dates / Times:


Jozi Film Festival


Sunday 30 September, 2pm, Olive Tree Theatre


Sunday 30 September, 8pm, Bioscope Independent Cinema


Cape Town International Film Market and Festival 


Wednesday 10 October, 2pm, SK Nouveau 5


Saturday 13 October, 6pm, Nu Metro 4


Mzansi Women Film Festival   October 26 – 28  screening times TBC


Trailer : 




For additional information about Sisters of the Wilderness please contact:    

South African Publicist – Sharlene Versfeld –  +27 (0)83 3263236

Creator / Producer, Ronit Shapiro   Email: OR Tel/ whatapp: +44 (0)7971 196446  Skype: ronit.shapiro  

International Sales – Evolutionary Films, Michael John Tel: +44 208 215 3340


About One Nature Films:

One Nature Films is a social impact film production company based in London, UK, founded by Ronit Shapiro in 2011. Our vision is to create engaging high quality films that inspire, connect and make a difference. We believe in the power of film to make social and environmental impact. One Nature Films has a deep-rooted passion for the environment, the natural world and human society.  Our name ‘One Nature’ reflects our belief in the oneness of humanity and the interconnectedness of all things. We strive to be ethical and socially responsible. One Nature, beyond film-making, is a social enterprise focused on the wellness of people and the environment. Our aim is to bring about a positive social impact in any project we develop.

Key Credits:

Film Director & Cinematographer: Karin Slater

Project Creator / Producer: Ronit Shapiro

Executive Producers: Ken and Liz Whitney, Antonia Bothner, Ronit Shapiro

Editor: Anja Bombelli

Composer: Ian Arber

Production Company: One Nature Films


Social Media Links:

The project’s website:





Indiegogo 2017

Indiegogo 2016

Highlights from the film’s sound track


Proclamation 73 Exhibition – Call for Collaboration

 Caption to photo: "The late Joyce Thomas (left) standing with her father, Bernard Fynn, who was also her dance partner. The couple on the right are unknown. • The image was taken at a dance competition at the YMCA in Beatrice st, Durban, in the 1970s • photo courtesy of Lorin Sookool"

Media Release

Proclamation 73 Exhibition – Call for Collaboration

The curators of an exhibition titled Proclamation 73, which explores the family archives of people racialized as Coloured and Indian in Durban under the Group Areas Act, are calling for people to collaborate with them.

Proclamation 73 is a not-for-profit project conceived by Zara Julius and Chandra Frank in partnership with the Goethe-Institut South Africa as part of the Goethe-Institut Project Space (GPS) and eThekwini History Museums. It is scheduled to be exhibited at the Durban Art Gallery from 10 December, 2018 to 15 February 2019.  


“This exhibition takes family histories as an entry point into the creation of both an exhibition and a visual online archive,” explain Julius and Frank. “In bringing together a large collection of family photos of everyday lived experiences, Proclamation 73 portrays narratives on the meaning of loss, kinship and home. Proclamation 73 investigates and challenges how different racial histories and segregation operate within the city of Durban. The growing collection includes photos of weddings, beach days, ballroom dances, debutant balls, dance contests, street portraits, school pictures and other snapshots. The exhibition will cover a large time period, from the late 1860s until the very early 2000s, and therefore offers insight into different historical frameworks and fragmented histories and narratives.”


“This is an interactive non-profit project and we are calling on support to help develop an archival collection of the family album in Durban. We are hoping to grow this body of untold stories, and help document everyday memories and histories."


The curators are looking for families who were based in Durban between 1860s and 2000 press, and / or who were racialised as “coloured” or “Indian” during apartheid and or were relocated/forcibly removed to Sydenham, Greenwood Park, Chatsworth, Wentworth, Phoenix, Newlands East, Newlands West, Overport etc.


“We would like to ask people to submit photographs from their personal family albums that document their homes, family/friend gatherings, community, social events, school events, etc that date any time before 2000. We are also interested in receiving copies of written letters or any such archival objects that you feel are of particular interest.”


No original material will be kept by the curators.  Submissions are requested to be done by 22 October 2018.


Anyone wanting to contribute or collaborate can contact Zara on  or email her with high res scans and descriptions of photos, or photos and information can be submitted directly onto the Proclamation 73 website:



Vuyani Dance Company’s Thulisile Binda receives Pick of the JOMBA! Fringe Award

Media Release

Vuyani Dance Company’s Thulisile Binda

receives Pick of the JOMBA! Fringe Award


On Saturday night (1 September), Durban born and bred, and Johannesburg-based dance-maker Thulisile Binda from the Vuyani Dance Company received the Pick of the Fringe award for her work Ithemba at this year'sJOMBA! Contemporary Dance Experience Fringe event at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre.


Thulisile received the prestigious acknowledgement from a committee comprising 2018 Standard Bank Young Artist for Dance and well-known South African dance-maker Musa Hlatshwayo, veteran dance writer and critic Adrienne Sichel and US-based art critic and writer Lauren Warnecke from the Chicago Times.


The award provides Thulisile with the supported opportunity to present a new work on the JOMBA! on the Edge at next year’s JOMBA! Contemporary Dance Experience.


Ithemba, is strikingly original a solo dance work and a very profoundly personal piece choreographed and danced by Thulisile Binda, which examines losses experienced, and how these become deep scars that come back to haunt.


“I would love to thank the festival for giving me the platform and opportunity to perform my solo," says a delighted Thulisile. “I would also like to thank the festival for recognising my work and I am grateful for the amazing opportunities that come with it.”


“We are thrilled so see such an array of strong work coming into the Fringe,” says Artistic Director of JOMBA, Lliane Loots. “Thulisile’s piece was extraordinarily personal yet echoing the very pertinent issues felt in South Africa today, and especially from a women’s perspective. We look forward to welcoming her back to JOMBA in 2019.”



8th annual Durban Gay & Lesbian Film Festival 


8th annual Durban Gay & Lesbian Film Festival 

The 8th annual Durban Gay & Lesbian Film Festival will be taking place from Friday 21 to Sunday 30 September 2018 at select pop-up venues around the city. Now in it’s eight year since opening in October 2011, the festival will screen 57 titles over a 10-day programme.


“Earlier this year our team decided on taking advantage of the Heritage Day long weekend in boosting the number of days patrons who work full time can enjoy our programme. So the decision was taken to position the Festival around this important holiday on 24 September.” says festival director Jason Fiddler.


“2018 is proving to be a financially challenging year for many South Africans, and we found it particularly hard as a cultural event to secure sponsorship. Fortunately, thanks to the invaluable ongoing support of Alliance Française of Durban and venue help from commercial property urban regeneration specialists Urban Lime, the DGLFF can confidently screen films this year. This is the first year we won’t be able to screen at our beloved KZNSA gallery, owing to a full exhibition calendar, but we certainly look forward to bringing some films back there next year.”


The format of the festival continues its eclectic tradition of including a tremendous diversity of subjects and film formats. The Opening Night film on Friday 21 September is a truly remarkable feature-length documentary, ‘GEORGE MICHAEL: FREEDOM – The Director’s Cut’. Directed by George Michael himself, and co-directed by David Austin, audiences can look forward to nearly two hours of celebrity interviews including sir Elton John, Mary J Blige and Liam Gallagher, whilst the man himself tells his story, his way. 


With frank revelations interspersed with the songs and music that made him a global pop and soul phenomenon, George shares an enthralling autobiographical journey that doesn’t shy away from unpleasant truths, nor does it sensationalise seminal experiences in his life and career. He simply and effectively shows how a gay boy found fame, excess, love, painful loss, contractual battles alongside his career defining music.


The DGLFF is proud to have secured the rights to show this incredible film, and audiences should note that there is only one screening of the film at a cost of R80 per ticket. Our pop-up main venue is at the top of vibrant Florida Road, at 344 Florida Rd, Durban. Ticket enquiries can be made via our website.


There are 7 feature films this year including ‘BREATHE’, a French coming-of-age drama about two young women and their relationship twists and ‘TIME IS UP’, a gay drama from Greek filmmaker Nicolas Pourliaros that poignantly looks a through monochromatic palette at the contemplation of life’s value. 


Johannesburg-based South African filmmaker Sean Steinberg will celebrate the world premiere of his 55-minute ‘(S)HE’ at DGLFF this year on Saturday 22 September. Breaking important ground for an under-considered community, ‘(S)HE’ tells the story of Penny Kemp, an intersex teenager who, after qualifying to compete in the 2016 Olympic trials, is forced to undergo gender treatment in order to keep her high levels of testosterone at bay. Only, she doesn’t want to. Made with a micro-budget the films explores a very difficult subject with delicacy.


‘STILL WAITING IN THE WINGS’ follows on two years later from their last visit to the DGLFF with a familiar cast of characters breaking out into original song as they busk their way ‘off-Broadway’ and battle their way through backstabbing musical theatre. Durban audiences will recall Canadian filmmaker and gay film star Charlie David and he continues his support of DGLFF with ‘SHADOWLANDS’, a darker and occasionally disturbing, if not exquisitely shot, homage to the bygone queer eras of the 30s, 50s and 60s that explores love in three separate stories – a couple renegotiating a relationship, a narcissist grasping to comprehend it, and star-crossed lovers mourning its loss.


Joseph Adesunloye, a British-Nigerian award-winning filmmaker premiered his ‘FACES’ at DIFF this past July to much acclaim. “Joseph and I felt that the film needed to be seen by more LGBTIQ people in Durbs and the producers kindly agreed to allow us to make it our Closing Night film on Saturday 29 September with an encore screening the following afternoon” says Fiddler. “Weaving such a powerful storyline with a pre-dominantly black UK cast, Joseph is able to tell Durban audiences of all persuasions and backgrounds utterly human and relatable stories, some that will shock, others that will make one cry, but ultimately that reinforce the beauty of love and friendship, especially between women who have endured great pain and suffering.”


There are a dozen other fascinating documentaries that explore transgender stories from Tonga to Chile to Pakistan, a gay Israeli man’s struggle for familial acceptance whilst HIV-positive and the acceptance he finds in a gay men’s choir in ‘WHO’S GONNA LOVE ME NOW?’, haunting stories from Zimbabwean gay men in ‘GIVE A MAN A MASK…’ and drag queen, and king, cultures from China to the United States.


The Festival programme continues to embrace and celebrate short film as powerful means of telling a diversity of stories, with high production values. 34 short films from 18 different countries across 5 continents have been packaged into seven feature slots that include lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer comedies, dramas and even stop-animation films. Audiences can again look forward to an entertaining, thought-provoking, disturbing and ultimately fun film selection in 2018.


On Heritage Day afternoon, and throughout the week of 24-28 September at 2pm and 4pm, the Festival offers patrons free screenings of a number of short films and documentaries, including acclaimed South African short films in the ‘MZANSI MIX’. Also continuing with is the effective Festival Ticket Pool that includes donated tickets for underprivileged, senior citizen and student patrons. Requests for tickets can be made direct with the organisers.


Those interested in supporting the Festival and the Ticket Pool, can use the Zapper code on display on the DGLFF website or Facebook page to facilitate card payments via the phone app, and even make donations to the Festival.


Normal screenings are R40 each with 50% concession to students and senior citizens with card – these are however not applicable to the Opening and Closing Nights that cost R80 per ticket. Patrons can also buy Silver Festival Passes for R250 that include 10 screenings and are transferrable. Gold Festival Passes this year are reduced at R500 that includes all screenings.


The main Festival Hub venue will be at POP, 344 Florida Road, Berea, a former art gallery space ideal as a pop-up screening venue, where most screenings will take place in 2018. Alliance Française will host two weeknights in Morningside. On Friday 28 September there will be a pop-up ‘T-DANCE’ social fundraiser at the German Club in Westville – details will be on our website and Facebook page. 


Details of events, and downloadable programme are available at – also Instagram/Twitter @dbngayfilmfest and Facebook @DGLFF



JOMBA! Honours Durban Dance-maker, Mduduzi Mtshali with the Eric Shabalala Dance Champion Award

Media Release

JOMBA! Honours Durban Dance-maker, Mduduzi Mtshali with the Eric Shabalala Dance Champion Award


Last night (5 September) local dance–maker Mduduzi Mtshali received the prestigious JOMBA! Eric Shabalala Dance Champion Award at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre at the 20th JOMBA! Contemporary Dance Experience hosted by the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Centre for Creative Arts.


Now in its 8th year, the award honours the memory of Eric Mshengu Shabalala who tragically passed away in 2011. Eric was a local dancer, choreographer, teacher and one of the founding dancers of the Siwela Sonke Dance Theatre in Durban. In a fitting tribute, the Centre for Creative Arts and the JOMBA! Contemporary Dance Experience Dance Festival has set up this annual award to honour some of KwaZulu-Natal’s stalwart dancers and dance teachers in his name.


Speaking at the award handover, Artistic Director of JOMBA! Lliane Loots said. “The award is given not only in recognition of performance or choreographic excellence, but also more profoundly and more importantly it is given in recognition of dance practitioners who have worked tirelessly to help grow a culture of dance and dance training in Durban – who have supported the growth of dance as an art form at both community and regional level.” 


“In selecting recipients, the JOMBA! committee look for those gifted individuals who have gone above and beyond – often without funding – to dedicate themselves to the cultural industry and to put KZN dancers and dance on the national and international map.”


Past recipients of this award include Jarryd Watson, Sifiso Khumalo, Byron ‘Bizzo’ Tifflin and Preston ‘Kayzo’ Kyd, Jabu Siphika, Julia Wilson and Zinhle Nzama, Ntombi Gasa, Musa Hlatshwayo and  S’fiso Magesh Ngcobo.


Mdu Mtshali is a Durban dancer, choreographer and is currently the dance lecturer at the Durban University of Technology.  In 1999, after completing his training at the then-Technikon Natal, he appeared with local dance companies before broadening his horizons by accepting an invitation to dance with the French dance company -Jean Francois Duroure and travelled all over Europe and the African continent. 


In 2002, he also spent a year at the London Contemporary Dance School in the UK after being awarded a Rio Tinto/ Richards Bay Minerals/ British Council Dance Scholarship. After graduating, he became highly active in the national dance arena performing and choreographing numerous works.


“While he is still an active choreographer and dance maker, we honour him tonight not only for his dance-making career but more especially for a long and illustrious career of over 10 years as a dance teacher and dance educator who has tirelessly given time, energy and space to train and nurture new generations of Durban dancers,” said Loots.


“In accepting this award, I will give back what Lliane Loots and the dance community in Durban has given to me, thank you,” said Mdu Mtshali.  “I enjoy making theatre that serves a greater social function as well as entertain. Credit must go to Eric Shabalala, the man who groomed me to be what I am today.”


Eric Shabalala would be proud of Mdu. In an article in Artsmart in 2003 about Mdu having won the scholarship to study in UK, Shabalala said, “Mdu started in my Stepping Into Dance classes at the Playhouse in 1995. I am very proud of him, he’s doing tremendous work. His skills have developed a lot and he never stops wanting to learn. He’s very disciplined, honest and reliable and is fully committed and focused. He respects his work.”


JOMBA! continues until Sunday September 9 at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre with one performance on September 7 at the Durban Art Gallery.