Siphokazi Jonas to open the 12th Annual Desmond Tutu International Peace Lecture

THE 12th ANNUAL DESMOND TUTU INTERNATIONAL PEACE LECTURE COMES BACK TO CAPE TOWN CITY HALL

Desmond Tutu

The 12th Annual Desmond Tutu International Peace Lecture returns on 7 October 2022, marking the first Lecture since Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu’s passing at the end of 2021.

The event is being held on Archbishop Tutu’s birthday and will honour his extraordinary life while reflecting his legacy into the future.

The heart of the Peace Lecture is rooted in the Foundation’s work to transform our collective consciousness through the courageous pursuit of healing, inspired by the legacy that Archbishop Tutu left for us. In the last few years, we all witnessed the devastating impact of a global pandemic, climate change and conflict. The Arch, as he was fondly known, held a lifelong conviction that one can only get through hard times by holding on to hope. As he put it, “Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.” In line with this, the 12th International Peace Lecture theme is: A Vision for Hope and Healing.

This year’s Peace Lecture will be delivered by the Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations Ms. Amina J. Mohammed, who will appear with best-selling author Doug Abrams. Deputy Secretary-General Mohammed is credited as being one of the key architects of the Sustainable Development Goals, setting an agenda for how we can develop flourishing societies and the planet.

She is a globally recognised leader in action to prevent climate change, having served as the Minister of Environment of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Abrams is best-known for his collaborative work with Archbishop Tutu and the Dalai Lama to co-author The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World.

He has worked with other Nobel Laureates including Nelson Mandela, Jody Williams, and Elizabeth Blackburn, as well as many visionary luminaries like Stephen Hawking and Jane Goodall.

Chairperson of the Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation, Niclas Kjellström-Matseke said, “Amina Mohammed, through her extraordinary work as a global leader can share an inspiring vision for global development.

This is well-paired with Doug Abrams’ intimate portraits and ability to draw out the wisdom of many of the elders of our times. I am confident that this will be a powerful moment for us to reimagine the possibilities of a bold future, shaped by collective healing and humanity.”

The Foundation’s “Festival of Hope” will include performances by musician, Vicky Sampson who will be joined by the South Africa Youth Choir.

Award-winning poet, playwright, and performer Siphokazi Jonas will also grace the stage, while the vibrant, female-driven social enterprise Marimba Jam will keep visitors entertained upon their arrival.

Siphokazi Jonas with the SAFTA award for #WeAreDyingHere
Siphokazi Jonas with the SAFTA award for #WeAreDyingHere

We are excited to receive our esteemed dignitaries to our first in-person lecture since the onset of the pandemic.

Visitors will also experience a curation of artworks by children from around the city, reflecting their own visions of hope and healing for the future.

We invite everyone to join us for this powerful dialogue at the Cape Town City Hall, 7 October 2022; 19h00-21h00.

Book your free tickets on quicket.co.za or stream the lecture on tutu.org.za or on the Foundation’s YouTube channel.

Mkhuseli by Siphokazi Jonas

From Litnet

Stemme | Voices | Amazwi is LitNet’s series of 15 short, powerful monologues, written by established and upcoming playwrights, presented in collaboration with Suidoosterfees, NATi and ATKV.

In Siphokazi Jonas’ Mkhuseli, a fallen star whose memory was wiped when it fell to earth, stands guard at a shoreline to save the spirits of the drowned. Peggy Mongoato performs the monologue, directed by Qondiswa James. Watch the performance in isiXhosa with English subtitles here:

In this video, Peggy Mongoato and director Qondiswa James discuss their approach to Siphokazi’s monologue text.

The original text in isiXhosa:

Mkhuseli

A figure standing on the shore looking out to the water. It is a star who was sent to earth centuries ago to guard the shoreline and prevent mysterious drownings. The people of the place would hear a voice calling them into the water and walk in, never to return. The star takes on different human forms to avoid detection, and its memory was wiped before reaching earth so it would not yearn for home. Lately it has been hearing the same voice calling and remembering fragments of its history.

“Who shut up the sea behind doors
    when it burst forth from the womb,
 when I made the clouds its garment
    and wrapped it in thick darkness,
 when I fixed limits for it
    and set its doors and bars in place
 when I said, ‘This far you may come and no farther;
    here is where your proud waves halt’?

“Sondela emanzini.”

Libiza mna? Baninzi abahambi kufutshane nolwandle kodwa abeva nto. Ubomi buyaqhubeka. Xa ubizo lufika kuwe wedwa, ingaba lolwakho kuphela? Kudala ndime kule ndawo, ndityale iinyawo nengcinga kulomhlaba; ulikhaya kum ngoku. Ndisabele? Ngeentsuku zengqele, ndigrumba umngxunya, ndambathe isanti okwengubo esindayo. Maxa ligqatsa ilanga ndiye nditshonele ngasezantsi, kuvele intloko kuphela. Ayina mthunzi le indawo, kwinzingo zelixeshana, umqolo ungaphandle. Ndingummi wale ndawo, olunxweme. Ndithuthuzelwa ngumngeni ondibeke kule ndawo, umkhuseli wolunxweme. Ndikubona konke okwenzekayo – abafikayo, abangabuyiyo. Ndimi phakathi kwamaza nobomi. Inyawo zabo ziphaphatheka nomoya. Inyama yabemi beli iyonakala, bonzakala kukuhamba kwexesha, Amagama, iimbali, iimbuso, konke kumka nomoya, ndikhumbula konke okwenzeka kule ndawo, abo bandibonileyo bona bayandilibala lakutshona ilanga kuvuke inyanga.

“Sondela emanzini.”

Ndisabele? Ukusabela kukufa. Iphinde yandindwendwela imibono. Izingceba, ndizama ukuzicalucalula ndidibanise apha, ndidibanise phaya, kodwa kumfiliba. Mhla kuzala inyanga iphelela, iphezu kwentloko yam, kuduka namafu, ubusuku bufana nemini, kumnyama kumhlophe, ndiye ndiphinde ndibabone. Olu lwandle iba sisipili sam, ezinzulwini ndiye ndikhulule ubuntu kuvele umoya, ndiphande izinto zakudala endazilibalayo. Mhla ndivuka kolu nxweme, ndingenamzimba ndavuka ndingenankumbulo. Ndayiqokelela isanti ndayibumba, ndayenza umzimba, ndazakhela owam. Babuyile aba babini. Indoda nomfazi. Andibazi, kodwa ndiqinisekile baziwa ngumphefumlo. Xa ndibabona ngeliso lengcinga umlomo uyazivulekela, liyatyhudisa ilizwi liphuma kwimiphunga, ngomqala, liyazityekeza phezu kwamaza.

“Mama!”

“Tata!”

“Niphi?”

Andilazi eli thafa bakulo. Bancumelene. Abandihoyi. Ndiphi mna? Andiziboni kweli thafa kodwa ndiyayazi ndikhona phakathi kwabo, lo mbono uyanditshutshisa. Ndingawuthemba? Ndiqathwa lithemba? Bancumile, kodwa bayandishiya. Bancuma njani bendishiya?

“Mama!”

“Tata!”

“Ndilindeni, ndiyeza!”

“Mama!”

“Tata!”

Shwaka, ukukhanya! Amafu osula lo mbono, agquma ubuso benyanga, angcolisa isibhakbhaka angqimbilili, abiza umoya, kukho umsindo emanzini.

Ukufika kwam, ndazinika igama. Abantu bale ndawo babizana ngamagama, kwiilwimi ngeelwimi. Onegama uyasabela. Inyani yona, ayinamsebenzi, ndiphila ngeentsomi ukuhambisa amakhulu eminyaka ndilapha. Qashi, qashi, qashi, qashi, ndizalwa ngubani? Ngunonkala ohamba ngecala? Ziintaka ezigcwalisa isibhakabhaka? Emlonyeni wentlanzi enkulu, etica kolunxweme? Okanye ndifike ngamaza nemimoya ebhudlayo?

Mna ndithi ndizelwe yinyanga nelanga. Kwathi ke kaloku ngantsomi, ngobusuku obungaziwayo, kwinyanga yeSilimela suka ndavela kwisibhakabhaka. Oodade bam abasixhenxe, abazinkwenkwezi bekhona, bebukele, bendilindile. Andinalo igama kulentsomi, ndizithiya amagama amabini ndinguNyana, unyana wenyanga. Ndiphinde ndizibize uNtombi. Intombi yelanga. Nabaya oodade bam bexhonywe phezulu! uMaia, uElectra, uTaygete, uCelaeno, uAlcyone, uSterope, noMerope. Bavela xa ndibabiza, bekhatshwa yimvula. Xa ndizicingela, nam ndandiphakathi kweenkwenkwezi. Ubuso bam bufana nobenyanga …

“Sondela emanzini!”

“Mama!”

“Tata!”

“Ndilindeni, ndiyeza!”

Bandishiyele ntoni na? uNyana akalahlekanga ulahliwe. Kodwa ndiyakulinda, hleze badlule ngale ndlela kwakhona. Ndakuma kule ndawo mna Mkhuseli, ulwandle lungadluli apha. Abantu besisixeko, nabo bangadluli apha.

“Sondela emanzini.”

Ndikhetha uloyiko njengomhlobo wam. Ubunzulu bokungazi, nokungazazi, nokungaziwa buyandigubungela. Kubhalwe ntoni kule ncwadi imtyuba? Umzi owakhiwa phezu kwesanti uhamba nemimoya. Lo mzimba ngumzi wam. Ulilitye. Phakathi kwezulu nomhlaba.

“Sondela emanzini.”

An English translation of the text:

Mkhuseli

Who shut up the sea behind doors
when it burst forth from the womb,
when I made the clouds its garment
and wrapped it in thick darkness,
when I fixed limits for it
and set its doors and bars in place,
when I said, “This far you may come and no farther;
here is where your proud waves halt”?

“Come closer to the water.”

Is it calling me? There are many travellers near the sea, but they do not hear anything. Life goes on. When a calling comes to you alone, is it only for you? I have long stood in this place, planting feet and thought in this earth; you are my home, now. Must I respond? On cold days, I dig a hole and cover myself with the sand like a heavy blanket. When the sun gets hot, I tend to sink to the bottom, and only my head appears. This place does not have shade; in the moment of trouble, I am exposed. I am a citizen of this place, this coastal area. I am comforted by the challenge that has put me in this position as the coast protector. I see it all happen – newcomers, and the ones who never come back. I stand between the waves and life. Their feet blown in the wind. The flesh of the people of this country is perishing, damaged by the passage of time. Names, histories, kingdoms – all goes with the wind. I remember everything that happens in this place; those who see me forget me when the sun goes down and the moon rises.

“Come closer to the water.”

Must I respond? The reaction is death. Visions visit me again. It is pieces; I’m trying to sort them out here, put them together, but it’s not clear. When the moon is full, and it is over my head, the clouds are gone, the night is like day, dark and white, I see them again. This sea becomes my mirror; in the depths, I release my personality and become spiritual, exploring the old things I have forgotten. When I wake up on this beach, I have no body, and I wake up with no memory. I collect sand and mould it, make it into a body, and make my own. Two people come back. Husband and wife. I do not know them, but I am sure they are known by my soul. When I see them in my mind’s eye, my mouth opens; my voice comes out of my lungs, down the throat, and rolls over the waves.

“My mother! My father! Where are you?”

I do not know this forest they are in. They are smiling at each other. They are ignoring me. Where am I? I do not see myself in this forest, but I know I am in their midst; this vision haunts me. Can I trust it? Am I being fooled by faith? They are smiling, but they are leaving me alone. How are they smiling but leaving me?

“My mother! My father! Wait for me, I am coming! My mother! My father!”

Light disappears! Clouds that obscure the view, cover the face of the moon, darken the sky, call for air, and there is a noise in the water.

When I arrived, I gave myself a name. The local people call each other with names, in different languages. The one with names responds. The truth is, it doesn’t matter; I live by myths to pass hundreds of years here. Guess, guess, guess, guess whom I was born to? Is the crab walking sideways? Are the birds filling the sky? In the mouth of a big fish, landing on the shore? Or did I come with the waves and storms?

I say I was born of the moon and the sun. Once upon a time, on a strange night, in the month of June, I suddenly appeared in the sky. My seven sisters, who are the stars, were there watching and waiting for me. I have no name in this myth. I give myself two names: I am Son, the Son of the Moon. I also call myself Maiden – the Maiden of the Sun. And those sisters of mine hanging up there! Maia, Electra, Taygete, Celaeno, Alcyone, Sterope and Merope. They appear when I call them, accompanied by rain. When I think about it, I am also among the stars. My face is like the moon.

“Come closer to the water.”

“My mother! My father! Wait for me, I am coming!”

Why have they left me? The Son is not lost; he is abandoned. But I’ll wait, lest they pass this way again. When I stand in this place, I am the Protector; the sea does not pass here. The people of the city, too, do not pass by.

“Come closer to the water.”

I prefer fear as my friend. The depths of ignorance, ignoring myself and being ignored overshadow me. What is written in this salty book? A city built on sand is carried away by winds. This body is my home. It is a stone between heaven and earth.

“Come closer to the water.”

Stemme | Voices | Amazwi is supported by the National Arts Council.

Stemme | Voices | Amazwi is a New Writing project of LitNet and is supported by the LW Hiemstra Trust.

All the monologues are available here:

Stemme | Voices | Amazwi

Siphokazi thanks #WeAreDyingHere team. Official SAFTA pic below with the award

Again, on behalf of the entire #WeAreDyingHere team and all our partners, we are grateful for this recognition.

My hope is that this award will serve to bring attention to this story.

Further, my wish is that Poetry will be appreciated (and funded) for the power that it has to move and transform us.

This is the official SAFTA pic with the award.

Siphokazi Jonas with the SAFTA award for #WeAreDyingHere
Siphokazi Jonas with the SAFTA award for #WeAreDyingHere
Siphokazi Jonas with the SAFTA award for #WeAreDyingHere
Siphokazi Jonas with the SAFTA award for #WeAreDyingHere

#WeAreDyingHere is going to Sweden

Some really cool news, #WeAreDyingHere is going to Sweden! 

We’re honoured to be part of this amazing #SE_SA exchange with Hear My Voice. 

We’re taking the film and stage production to Gothenburg, Stockholm, and Uppsala along with individual performances and collaborations with the team. 

Tell somebody please.

Media statement: We congratulate Western Cape SAFTA winners

Media statement: We congratulate Western Cape SAFTA winners

The Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport congratulates those from the Western Cape who emerged as winners at the South African Film and Television Awards (SAFTAs) over the past weekend.

Local poet, writer and performer, Siphokazi Jonas, received top honours for her work in the category of Best Short Film. Jonas wrote the original screenplay for #WeAreDyingHere, which was awarded as the top film in this category. The film was executive produced by the Siya and Rachel Kholisi Foundation and will be available for viewing on local platform Showmax from 5 September (today).

The TV drama Suidooster, which is set and filmed in Cape Town, won in the category Best TV Soap. Director Amy Jephta, who hails from Mitchell’s Plain, walked away with the honours in the category Best Achievement in Directing – Feature Film for her film Barakat.

Minister Anroux Marais said: “We are very proud of the achievements of our local artists. They have shown that their work is making an impact not only in South Africa, but across the world. They are true ambassadors for the Western Cape and we celebrate them as local role-models.”

MEDIA ENQUIRIES:
Tania Colyn
Head of Communications
Tel: 076 093 4913

#WeAreDyingHere claims top honours in the Best Short Film category at this year’s SAFTAs

#WeAreDyingHere
#WeAreDyingHere

Cape Town, Monday, 5 September 2022 – After a successful festival run across the USA, South Africa, Germany, and Australia, the highly acclaimed short film #WeAreDyingHere took home the coveted Golden Horn at this year’s SAFTA’s, claiming top honours in the Best Short Film category. 

“History is being made in this collaboration between poetry, stage and film, and the SAFTA win is a sign that the world is ready for a film of this nature,” said Director Shane Vermooten. 

In her acceptance speech, Siphokazi Jonas acknowledged, “The team of collaborators who took the risk of adapting the initial stage play to film, including Zimbini Makwetu, Hope Netshivhambe, Shane and Bianca Vermooten, the Kolisi Foundation, Rachel and Siya Kolisi, and everyone who helped bring this story to life.”  

The SAFTA-winning short film is now available on Showmax.

#WeAreDyingHere is an intimate reflection on the impact of violence, harassment, abuse, rape and femicide on everyday life. It chronicles the journey of three soldiers forced to survive a war they did not choose. In a war against women’s bodies, they attempt to find solace by telling their stories under the constant watch of a relentless enemy. It is a necessary poetic insight into the experience of living in South Africa, where names of missing or murdered women frequently trend. 

Shane reflected in his speech, “It is my hope that this film will speak to men and that they will step up and take their place against the issue of gender-based violence.” 

#WeAreDyingHere is produced by Bianca Vermooten from Optical Films, Siphokazi Jonas from Wrestling Dawn Arts and Executive Producers Siya Kolisi, Rachel Kolisi, the Kolisi Foundation and is directed by Shane Vermooten. 

The producing team would like to acknowledge all the reluctant soldiers in this war we did not choose. We will not stop fighting! 

For more information, contact: martmyers@gmail.com

Trailer:

#WeAreDyingHere will be released and available for streaming on Showmax from Monday, 5 September 2022

#WeAreDyingHere
#WeAreDyingHere

Cape Town, Wednesday 31 August 2022 – After a successful festival run across the USA, South Africa, Germany, and Australia, the award-winning short film #WeAreDyingHere screened on Monday, 29 August, at The Labia Theatre in the Cape Town. The screening kicked-off the week before the much-anticipated lead up to the SAFTAs*, wherein the film has a Best Short Film nomination. 

The cast attended and hosted a Q&A session after the screening. The night was concluded with a special announcement that #WeAreDyingHere will be released and available for streaming on Showmax from Monday, 5 September 2022.*

Producer, Siphokazi Jonas stated, “We have witnessed the incredible power and impact of this film on audiences around the world, and we are excited for a wider South African audience to see it on Showmax, and for these necessary dialogues to continue in our audience’s homes.”

#WeAreDyingHere is an intimate reflection on the impact of violence, harassment, abuse, rape and femicide on everyday life. It chronicles the journey of three soldiers forced to survive a war they did not choose. In a war against women’s bodies, they attempt to find solace by telling their stories under the constant watch of a relentless enemy. 

While the film never depicts violence, these soldiers’ psychological and emotional trauma is evident, even as they fight to make themselves heard. It is a necessary poetic insight into the experience of living in South Africa, where names of missing or murdered women frequently trend. 

Director, Shane Vermooten reflected “History is being made in this collaboration between poetry, stage, and film, and the SAFTA-nomination is a sign that the world is ready for a film of this nature.”

#WeAreDyingHere is produced by Bianca Vermooten and Shane Vermooten from Optical Films, Siphokazi Jonas from Wrestling Dawn Arts, and Executive Producers Siya Kolisi, Rachel Kolisi, and the Kolisi Foundation. 

For more information, contact: martmyers@gmail.com 

* The SAFTA 2022 awards show is scheduled for 2 September as a simulcast on Mzansi Magic and SABC 3.

*Trailer:

#WeAreDyingHere

SIPHOKAZI JONAS FOR SA WOMEN’S ARTS FESTIVAL IN DURBAN ON 12TH AUGUST

SA WOMEN’S ARTS FESTIVAL IN DURBAN

The Playhouse Company, celebrates its annual SA Women’s Arts Festival in Durban’s Playhouse complex between 2 and 13 August 2022. 
Featuring a stellar roster of cultural icons, this lynchpin event on our county’s Women’s Month calendar has long been one of the flagships of the Company’s yearly Arts Plan.

“Over the years, our role in underlining the great value women bring to bear on all aspects of South Africa’s national life has become one which we cherish with pride,” says Lynda Bukhosini, Playhouse Company’s Chief Executive and Artistic Director. “This year, we have once again curated a programme for our SA Women’s Arts Festival audiences that highlights the gravitas, creativity and joy our women contribute to the well-being of our Society, not least through their wide-ranging impact on South Africa’s cultural landscape.”

The SA Women’s Arts Festival will see an enticing series of events and productions being presented in venues across The Playhouse complex. Headlining the Festival roster are three productions running in The Drama Theatre. These comprise a cutting-edge Dance programme of historic identity exploration, an A-list Gala Concert of Music and Song, and a dazzling evening of high-end Comedy.


Women in Concert, the Festival’s glitzy Gala event, takes place in the Drama Theatre on Friday 12 August at 18:00.

Directed by Ralph Lawson, this will feature a powerhouse line-up of leading artists, including Ami Faku, Xolile Mncwango, Berry Trytsman, and Xolisa Dlamini with Poetry by Siphokazi Jonas.
 MC is  Stacey Norman 
Tickets are R100 per person book via webtickets 

 Siphokazi Jonas
Siphokazi Jonas

Also in the Drama Theatre, All Women Comedy on Saturday 13 August at 14:30, adds a lighter note to the Women’s Arts Festival mix. Sharing the spotlight are KZN’s premier female comics, Jailoshini Naidoo, Lisa Bobbert and Annie Botha. Expect a rollercoaster ride of side splitting fun and laughter. Tickets are R120 per person.

Adding to the attractions of these mainstage events are a line-up of stimulating socio active discussion sessions, as well as a number of free contemporary programmes of music, song and dance.

Finally, two engagingly curated exhibitions will be held in the Main Foyer areas throughout the festival. Nguni Shades themed “My African Dream” celebrates black consciousness, the spirit of Ubuntu and showcases our elegant African fashion. Nguni Shades will profile learners to showcase pieces of their fine African elegance couture that represents Africanism.

Arts and Crafts Exhibition gives a platform to Hlengiwe Dube, specialist author of the culture and language Zulu Beadwork. Ms Dube has been involved in many development projects locally and internationally, passing her skills in beadwork and also in telephone wire weaving.

All Playhouse Company bookings are through Webtickets.