Siphokazi Jonas creates a bespoke love letter to her country, South Africa.

Siphokazi Jonas creates a bespoke love letter to her country, South Africa.
Listen to her words as she takes you on a journey across South Africa showcasing the diversity and beauty the country has to offer.

Continue your journey online by visiting for more virtual exploration.

The work was shot over three days in South Africa with Siphokazi Jonas.

Poem title: A place of many names

Please do enjoy

By: Siphokazi Jonas Producted: Core Productions Ltd.


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On Location pics. over 3 days

Credit: Dan McCain
Credit: Dan McCain
Credit: Dan McCain
Credit: Dan McCain

South Africa: A place of many names

South Africa: A place of many names

Siphokazi Jonas creates a bespoke love letter to her country, South Africa. Listen to her words as she takes you on a journey across South Africa showcasing the diversity and beauty the country has to offer. Continue your journey online by visiting for more virtual exploration.

Rachel & Siya Kolisi, Executive Producers of the Short film #WeAreDyingHere


Springbok rugby captain and global ambassador for the United Nations Spotlight Initiative, Siya Kolisi together with his wife Rachel Kolisi are the Executive Producers of a new short film entitled #WeAreDyingHere.

“One of the most beautiful results of this film is that it causes people to stop, think and more so encourages men and women to have conversations. Like the title, it gets straight to the point” explained Rachel. “There are many things that need to be unpacked in this film, and there is a lot that can be explained” Siya added. “The narrative of the film also teaches you that Gender-Based Violence doesn’t start with the violence, but the whole thought process; the film encompasses a lot of educational learnings for us as men.”

Produced by Bianca Schmitz of Optical Films and Siphokazi Jonas of Wrestling Dawn Arts, in association with the Kolisi Foundation, #WeAreDyingHere chronicles the journey of three soldiers forced to survive a war that they did not choose. In this war against women’s bodies, they attempt to find solace by telling their stories under the constant watch of a relentless enemy. #WeAreDyingHere is an intimate reflection on the impact of violence, harassment, abuse, rape and femicide on everyday life. While the film never depicts any violence, the psychological and emotional trauma on these soldiers is evident. It is a necessary insight into the experience of living in South Africa where names of missing or murdered women trend frequently.

#WeAreDyingHere is an adaptation of the critically acclaimed stage performance of the same name created by writer and performer Siphokazi Jonas who directed the original stage production. In July 2020, the stage production was mentioned in TimeOut New York as one of the best productions to stream during the lockdown. This production was co-written and performed by poet Hope Netshivhambe, and musician Babalwa Makwetu, whom all reprise their roles in the film.

“I am tired of feeling helpless and afraid as a woman in South Africa,” Jonas insists. “Before work began on creating #WeAreDyingHere, I felt as if art has no real place in terms of true change in the world; a film is not going to change murderous intent. But a fellow writer reminded me that our work gives us language and helps us to articulate ourselves and that’s what we hope #WeAreDyingHere will elicit.”

Director Shane Vermooten says about the production, “During the initial lockdown in South Africa, I watched a recording of the stage production, and when the performance finished, I sat in my living room with tears streaming down my face. I couldn’t think of anything else for days. I knew we had to do adapt this incredible production for the screen.” He continues, “#WeAreDyingHere is a unique combination of spoken word poetry, theatre and film and this distinctive combination helps deliver a powerful and poignant message in a visually rich way, which I haven’t seen on screen before.”

#WeAreDyingHere will have its global premiere at The Pan African Film Festival (PAFF) in February 2021. PAFF is the largest Black History Month event in the US, a nexus for emerging Black voices looking to be seen, felt and heard.

Although the film title is, #WeAreDyingHere, the producers want the film to leave everyone with an overwhelming sense of how much women want to live: to thrive, fearlessly, and as freely as possible.

Left to Right: Siphokazi Jonas, Hope Netshivhambe, Babalwa Makwetu
Left to Right: Siphokazi Jonas, Hope Netshivhambe, Babalwa Makwetu

For more information, behind the scenes and the launch of the official trailer visit our website –

For Press & Media Enquiries contact:

Martin Myers

+27 83 448 4475

About the Kolisi Foundation

The Kolisi Foundation was founded by Siya and Rachel Kolisi in April 2020 with a vision to change narratives of inequality in South Africa, by working alongside others, adding our story to the stories of communities and individuals who are changing the world.

The Kolisi Foundation seeks to support people living in under-resourced communities in South Africa, by providing resources, facilitating capacity-building and horizontal learning exchanges, and mobilizing and advocating for systemic change. The Kolisi Foundation’s mission is shaped around the following three programmatic areas: Food Security, Gender Based Violence, and Education and Sports Development.

About Optical Films

Founded by Producer Bianca Schmitz, Director Shane Vermooten and entrepreneur Marlon Parker, Optical Films tells stories that guide audiences to question their perspectives and the way they relate to the world around them. We are all capable of making an impact in our world and it is Optical Films’ desire that the films we produce become a springboard for audiences to make a difference.

The films Optical Films produce are not only high quality entertainment, but also have a

direct social impact. From seeing a spike in organ donor registrations to putting a football team through high school and shining a light on gender-based violence and human trafficking, entertainment and impact is at the heart of who we are.

About Wrestling Dawn Arts

Wrestling Dawn Arts was founded in 2017 by writer, performer, poet Siphokazi Jonas who is also director of the company. This is a performing arts and creative writing company which focuses on the development of writers and performers in South Africa.

The company offers workshops and training on writing and performance as well as the arts business both for schools as well as emerging and professional artists. Wrestling Dawn Arts also offers production and directing services for stage productions. The company has co-produced plays such as Around the Fire and The Widow at the Artscape Theatre Centre. Wrestling Dawn Arts won Best Project in the Western Cape under the BASA and DAC and NLC Debut programme in 2019.

STATE OF THE NATION ADDRESS 2021: Siphokazi Jonas’ poetry reminds us that we’re not alone during Covid-19 pandemic

By Karabo Mafolo

 Eastern Cape poet Siphokazi Jonas. Photo: SUPPLIED

‘What does not sink’, performed ahead of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s State of the Nation Address on Thursday evening, is a moving poem about what we’ve lost during Covid-19 and a reminder that we are not alone. 

Standing on the steps of Parliament, poet Siphokazi Jonas tells us that: “There is a flood inside our house. The water climbs up the walls when we weep; it does not let us breathe. Everything is wet with grief.”

“It was a big scope (to cover) because the effects have been far-reaching (as)  schools were closed, people had their salary cuts so I needed to balance that and our reality of how Covid-19 has changed our sense of community,” Jonas told Daily Maverick on Friday.  

Read more at The Daily Maverick

What does not sink | SONA poem, 11th February 2021

by Siphokazi Jonas

Ufikile unogumbe, ugalelekile,
akankqonkqozi, udiliza umgubasi.
There is a flood inside our house.
The water climbs up the walls when we weep;
it does not let us breath.
Everything is wet with grief.

Before this pandemic we would cast a funeral song into the dark like a flare,
and the neighbours would come to strengthen our arms as we drove the water
out the door.
Before grief reached out ankles
Before it swept us to our knees
Before it flowed into the pots, and our beds.

To mourn meant a community gathered
like a bank between you and the river of death.
Now death has dampened this ritual –
We mourn alone.
The neighbours lift their own arms to relieve the water in their lungs –
We are all drowning.

This flood has reached into the inner rooms
and quenched lives young and old.
It has taken what we are not ready to lose.
It spits the stories of the living into the street as injured furniture:
Like the pensioner in line for a social grant
whose life has no space to protest a beach,
still she returns home, clothes soaked.
Or the man who dies for a beer in his own backyard.
The nurse tying a tattered mask together with prayer, and is still unprotected.
Or the artist who contemplates eating her own words to ease her hunger – and art starves.
This flood ruins us all.

But what of the after,
when the depth of this moment is absorbed
by history?
Who will we be?

We are a people who know how to rebuild out of the remnants of disaster,
and we will do it again, and again.
When we salvage what is usable,
may we find ourselves baptised into something new:
New ways of mourning,
a people who have learned to breathe under water,
reciting the names of those we have lost, and memories that never sink.

Copyright – all rights reserved 5 February 2021

Martin Myers collaborates with AMPD Studios

Music Exchange (MEX) founder, Martin Myers was invited to partake in a panel at an Old Mutual-sponsored AMPD Studios talk in Johannesburg in late October 2020.

The session’s speakers included Sibu Mabena and Thuli Keupilwe, along with Martin, all who work with some of the biggest and most respected names in the South African and global entertainment industry.

Sibu Mabena, the founder of Duma Collective, has managed to build a career around her passions – dance, social media and talent management. Some of the productions she has been part of include Cassper Nyovest’s ‘Fill Up the Dome’, ‘Fill Up FNB Stadium’ and Black Coffee’s ‘Music is King’. She also manages Kwesta.

Thuli Keupilwe is the founder and owner of the artist booking agency, Lawk Communications (Pty) Ltd, and represents artists such as DJ Maphorisa, DJ Sliqe and A-Reece.

Martin Myers, a UCT graduate and founder of the NPC Music Exchange is also a publicist and music manager. Martin’s break came when he organised a gig for the legendary Sipho “Hotstix” Mabuse at UCT back in 1985.
The personal and professional relationship with Sipho “Hotstix” Mabuse was established then and remains steadfast 35-years later.

Martin also manages RJ Benjamin, Siphokazi Jonas and Dr Trevor Jones in South Africa, as well as consulting to various local artists.

For 16 years, Martin was BMG/ Sony Music’s Cape Town publicist and marketing manager.

The talk is brought to you AMPD Studios, sponsored by Old Mutual.

Please do spend some time watching this talk with artist managers in discussion about managers and artists and what can be done

pic credit Siphiwe Mhlambi



After an absence of more than 30 years, Sipho “Hotstix” Mabuse and his band, including Paul Simon friend and respected muso Tony Cedras, returned to Cape Town and The Baxter Theatre on Friday 25 October 2018, for ONE NIGHT ONLY!

Fortunately for us all, this sell-out concert was captured on film, and commencing Friday, 29 May 2020, for ONE WEEK ONLY, this two-hour celebration of classic music, new voices and extraordinary light and sound production, will enjoy a new lease on life for a fleeting seven days.

Thanks to the power of digital collaboration with TicketPro, Music Exchange (MEX) , the original producers of the show, have teamed up in 2020, during the height of the current COVID-19 lockdown, to present this very rare and special moment in time for the very first time online.

All proceeds from kind donations received over the seven days will go towards supporting the artists and crew who set the night alight.

The Baxter Theatre, equally compromised by COVID-19 reality, will also benefit with a percentage of the proceeds going towards their solidarity efforts in keeping their critical precinct alive now and well into the future.

Sipho’s long-overdue Mother City return was a night worth capturing in time, if only because the new (Siphokazi Jonas, Roshdien Jaz, Mmino and the South African Youth Choir) and the tried-and-tested powerhouse that is “Hotstix” delivered a one-of-a-kind performance that’s finally being repeated!

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SA music legend, Sipho “Hotstix” Mabuse returns to the Baxter Concert Hall for ONE-NIGHT ONLY, this October


After an absence of more than 30 years, South African music legend
Sipho “Hotstix” Mabuse and his band,
return to the Baxter Concert Hall,
for a one-night only celebration,
on Friday, 26 October, at 8pm.

As one of South Africa’s stateliest musical treasures who loves his country as much as he does performing live, Sipho promises Cape Town a show well worth the wait. “I can’t believe where the time has gone,” says Mabuse, whom we have come to love for hit songs like Burn Out and Shikisha.

He continues, “The Baxter holds many fond memories for me. We would like honour this iconic venue with a stunning once-off show, pulling out all the stops by playing all the hits and throwing in a few surprises along the way.”

Hot on the heels of his keynote address at Music Exchange 2018 (MEX18) conference, earlier this month, Sipho’s promise to return to the Mother City for a full concert is about to be honoured, much to the excitement of fans across the peninsula.

Sipho has also selected three artists from the MEX18 conference, to be showcased on the line-up. They are singer and songwriter Roeshdien Jaz, Siphokazi Jonas and Afro-fusion band Mmino who regularly perform at the V&A Waterfront.

Look at Siphokazi Jonas,” Sipho says. “Four years ago she performed at Music Exchange and today she is working full-time in the entertainment industry. Roeshdien has enjoyed a string of radio hits and he is now ready to draw larger audience. Mmino is an amazing band that had such fresh ideas musically and now also deserve to be seen by a wider audience. I want to give these immensely talented Cape Town artists a chance and in this way help to build and support the next generation of artists in our country,”

In April this year Sipho was welcomed by the President who bestowed him with the Silver Order of Ikhamanga, for his contribution to music. In June he received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 13th Annual South African Traditional Music Achievements Awards (SATMA), held in Mpumalanga.

In 2015 Sipho celebrated his golden anniversary in music – 50 years of his unwavering commitment and contribution to South African music and education and he also appointed as the chairman of the non-profit organization, Music Exchange.

Thirty-four years ago, Sipho’s 500 000-selling smash-hit single, Burn Out, changed the face and shape of Afro-pop and township jive, like no other song or artist in pop music history. 

He is an integral part of the entertainment industry and his contribution to the diverse landscape of South Africa is appreciated and honoured by music lovers the world over. 

His nickname “Hotstix” has stayed with him since he was eight years old and already displayed talent as a drummer. There are few instruments that he cannot play but flute, piano, saxophone, kalimba, alto flute, timbales and African drums all feature at some point in his repertoire.

A quick Google search brings up names like The Beaters, Sipho’s first band, that later evolved to become Harari, one of the most successful acts to dominate the music scene in the 70s in South Africa. They became widely regarded as the ultimate party band and one of the country’s most important musical acts until the band split up in 1982. Sipho continues to create original South African music as a respected solo artist.

Throughout his 54-year career, Sipho has become a musical ambassador for South Africa, performing in virtually every African country on the continent, as well as the US, UK, France, Germany and Italy.

He has also recorded and produced many legendary artists like Miriam Makeba, Hugh Masekela, Ray Phiri and Sibongile Khumalo. As a regular commentator on arts and culture in the country, Sipho has also served on the boards of the National Arts Council and the South African Musicians Rights Organisation (SAMRO).

With an impressive catalogue that’s anchored in Africa, all who meet, greet and share stages with Sipho are all touched by a humility and grace that’s as rare as the talent this living legend shares with us all today,” says Martin Myers, manager and friend.

Tickets to see this once-off performance of Sipho “Hotstix” Mabuse at the Baxter Concert Hall, range between R200 and R250, and can be bought from Webtickets online, or at selected Pick n Pay stores. Show starts at 8pm.

There will be CDs and posters on sale, before and after the performance, as well as a signing session with Sipho immediately after the show.

Selected Career Highlights – Sipho “Hotstix” Mabuse
2005 – SAMA Lifetime Achievement Award Winner
2008 – 46664 Ambassador – performed in London’s Hyde Park
2009 – 46664 Ambassador – performed at New York’s Radio City Music Hall
2018 –
Silver Order of Ikhamanga for his contribution to the field of music
2018 –
Lifetime Achievement Award at the 13th Annual South African Traditional Music Achievements Awards (SATMA)

For further media enquiries please contact:

    André Gail Gilbertson

Cell ▪ +27 83 448 7047

Mail ▪