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DFL brings a masters season to stage

- By Wits University

The Drama for Life Division within the Wits School of the Arts is proud to present Siting Memory, a masters season of work, bringing together acclaimed theatre-makers from the SADC region.

This season will showcase three memorable pieces by theatre makers Leila Henriques, Makhaola Siyanda Ndebele and Jacques Sakaria Mushaandja, all masters degree students in the Wits School of the Arts.

Do not miss these riveting performances, which will be on stage from 19 to 27 February 2015 in the Wits Theatre Complex, Jorissen Street, Braamfontein. Tickets are R40 for the public and R20 for students.

The Waiting Room

Written by: Leila Henriques

Starring: José Domingos, Robert Whitehead, Vanessa Cooke and Leila Henriques

In a Johannesburg hospital where Lena is waiting for her mother Anna to die, she must confront the past as she tries to keep her mother’s many lovers at bay. The play deals with identity and memory. It is a dialogue between Italian, Portuguese and South African-ness.

Henriques began her career as an actress. She trained at the Oxford School of Drama and spent two years at the Tabard Theatre in Chiswick, where she specialised in new writing. Upon returning to South Africa she joined the innovative Loft Theatre Company in Durban, but it was at the Market Theatre in Johannesburg that she did some of her most challenging and exciting work.

Her most recent acting role was in Sue Pam Grant’s The Something Complex at Front View Studio. Henriques has performed in both film and theatre. Together with Irene Stephanou, she also wrote the book The World in an Orange – Exploring the work of Barney Simon, published by Jacana, which was shortlisted for the Alan Paton Award. Henriques has directed many theatre productions, including productions for students such as Yerma, Road, Red Shoes and Midwinter, as well as The List for the Baxter Theatre in Cape Town.

Henriques has worked as a drama teacher for the past decade and has taught acting at Wits and at AFDA, the South African School of Motion Picture Medium and Live Performance. She has also worked in the corporate world as a coach, director and writer.

Dates: 19 – 21 February; 24 – 27 February 2015

Times: 18:30 – 20:00 (19, 21, 25 and 27 February 2015); 20:00 – 21:30 (20, 24 and 26 February 2015)

Venue: Wits Downstairs Theatre

Cantos of a Life in Exile

Written by: Makhaola Siyanda Ndebele

Starring: Makhaola Siyanda Ndebele

Cantos of a Life in Exile chronicles an auto-biographical performance journey of a South African life, through multiple fragmented assumed identities, in search of one holistic identity best characterised by the experience of finding home.

The performance explores the displacing effects of cultural, political, and social exile on a South African citizen exiled during Apartheid; furthermore, it explores the extent to which theatre and performance practice succours the exiled individual to regain a grounding liberatory sense of truth and belonging, of being home. Aesthetically, it is a theatrical hybrid drawing from a variety of theatre and performance influences, but more specifically rooted in indigenous Southern African performance genres, namely iiNgoma (healing rituals), iziBongo (praise poetry), and iintsomi (storytelling).  

Ndebele has over two decades of insightful experience across various dramatic disciplines. He is a discerning professional who has worked as a theatre, television, and film actor; a dramatist and screenwriter; a theatre director and dramaturge; a television producer; and a creative consultant. He currently also serves as a part-time Performance Studies and Dramatic Writing lecturer at the Wits School of the Arts, and is a MA Dramatic Arts student.

Dates: 19 – 21 February 2015 and 24 – 27 February 2015

Time: 20:00 – 21:30 (19, 21, 25, and 27 February); and 18:30 – 20:00 (20, 24 and 26 February 2015)

Venue: The Nunnery

EeEEenganga: based on conversations with black Namibian urban traditional healers

Written by: Jacques Sakaria Mushaandja

Starring: Jacques Sakaria Mushaandja

EeEEenganga is a body of ethnography, interrogating cultural narrative(s) of black urban traditional healers in post-colonial Namibia. A ritual performed through space, sound and movement with an objective of finding a voice between performance and shamanism.

Mushaandja is a theatre/music maker, writer and educator. His professional experience is in different storytelling performances, writing, directing, research, teaching and facilitating. Mushaandja graduated with a masters degree in Performing Arts (Drama) from the University of Namibia. He is currently studying towards a masters degree in Applied Drama (social, community and educational contexts) under the Wits Drama for Life programme. Mushaandja’s collaborative research and teaching projects look at diversity studies’ post-colonial identities, healing and transformation in the Namibian context through performance and ethnographic methodologies.

Dates: 25, 26 and 27 February 2015

Time: 20:00

Venue: Wits School of the Arts

For more information contact: or call (011) 717-4731