27 June, 2008

REVIEW: Composition Z: The House of Stone

By: Nqobile Buthelezi

IMAGINE... for a moment, a woman whose face looks like a grotesque mask, emerging from the bushes, chanting something that no human language under the sun can make out. She is drapped in torn and dirty clothes. Her song awakens a spirit, an energy that moves somewhere between her and the audience, exerting a cold aura that keeps the ampitheatre chilled. The scene is like enchanted magic!

Composition Z: The house of Stone, enigmatic as it sounds, is an exhilirating production that takes one to a fantastical world where dreams are reality and the essense of reality itself questioned. This play certainly keeps audiences at the edge of their sit, tying to find meaning as they connect to the magical creatures that inhibit the realm.

With its layered complexities, Composition Z is a niche genre of theatre that combines the elements of drama, physical performance and visual imagery. A blend of three characters from different cultural folklores sees the the play resurrect magical beings and a hypnothising act that is certainly one of its kind. Extracted from a Venda folktale, Zwidutwane is a water spirit inhibiting the Phiphidi Falls in Limpopo. Alongside Nai Nai of Eeinaa and Dombo, which are both influencial female protaagonists in the play, the three characters are in constant search for validation and affirmation. Their fate entertwined, they feed into each other's aura becoming one in the eternal struggle to find identity. This characters surely represent those souls who feel lost, watching time pass them by. Intricate use of voice over storytelling and rythmic physical theatre elevate ones senses, weaving deeper the metaphorical representation of the constant batte humankind faces in everyday living.

Emerging writer, director and actor, Awelani Moyo, attained her BA Honours Degree in Directing, Creative Writing (under Reza De Wet) and Acting at Rhodes University. Currently doing her coursework Masters in Contemporary Perfomance, the young Zimbabwean is set to fly high in the industry as she collaborates with leading theatre practitioners.In Composition Z, Moyo represents well the issues of vulnerability, difference, socio-political status of Zim, conflict of identity and ultimately how mankind derive meaning from what they see and hear in their surroundings, most noticeably in situations of displacement.

On the Tittle:
The tittle misleads one to think of a musical theatre piece. More along the lines of Beathovan or Mozart type classical acts. However, Moyo, through her excellent tittle intentionally twists and entices our minds, the every act entwined with the craze in the tale itself. 'Composition Z' may be a derivative for all the meanings, conspiracies we contrive and conceptualise in our minds, trying to find an answer to destiny. We compose possible explanations for our current situations and our possible end. "The House of Stone" perhaps infers to humanity's numbed reaction towards issues that have affected our world, its people, deteriorationg the very essense of Ubuntu, we have come to learn.

25 June, 2008

Malema and Vavi to die for Zuma

To some extent I understand Julius Malema's and Zwelinzima Vavi's statement regarding the ANC leader Jacob Zuma.Their statement tells me one thing,Zuma is a charasmatic,infuencial and beloved leader.

As far as I see it, they(Vavi and Malema) have not said anything new, they are simply echoing what our potential president has always said,khawulethu mshini wam(bring my machine gun).The only difference with Malema and Vavi's statement is that they are specific about what they will do with their "machine gun".Zuma must be a very happy man, infact I would like to add that he is a very lucky man.

To have two leaders of the country's biggest union and the ruling parties political youth wing willing to put their lives down for you is flattering.I can imagine what the conversation was last weekend at some boere braais around the country, "I was right,those ANC people are terrorists.Sadly for Zuma he wont't be getting any Afrikaner vote until he stands up and condems what Malema and Vavi have said.

Do not get me wrong when I say I understand their statement,I am by no means saying I support it.I understand it but I do not condone it!There is one question on my mind though, will they be sending out youth militia to intimidate anyone who does not support Zuma like Zanu PF is doing to anyone anti Mugabe.Are they to be labelled martyrs or terrorists.

I hope their statement stays just that, a statement or threat,if not, then the predictions of many post apartheid emigrants are at hand - "This country is going to end up like Kenya,Zimbabwe or any former colonial African country!God forbid!

23 June, 2008

The Standard of Journalism education in South Africa

The Standard of Journalism education in South Africa.

By.Mduduzi Justice Nyalunga (Highway Africa, FJP participant @University of Zululand.

Indeed, the standard of Journalism education in South Africa is developing in each and every year to a high level. Our writers and reporters are getting better. Many South African Universities teach journalism in different ways although, they have the similar idea of producing quality and awards winning journalists who will have the power to influence the public through their good writing and broadcasting skills. It is very significant to look at different aspects when discussing the standard of journalism education in South Africa.

Rich Universities like Rhodes teach journalism at a very high level. At this University they have all the basic journalism resources that Journalism students need in order to have enough knowledge about the different aspects of Journalism. At Rhodes University they also help their Journalism Students by forming partnerships with well known organisations such a High way Africa, an organisation that invites a number of great journalists across the African continent to come down to South Africa and help them with skills and more knowledge about Journalism, by doing so I believe that the University is helping to develop the Standard of Journalism in South Africa. They have also established a new programme called (FJP) Future Journalists Programme in order to help students from different Universities and from all sorts of backgrounds to acquire more valuable skills and knowledge in the field of Journalism by giving them more journalism trainings. Therefore Rhodes Journalism graduates are highly skilled and able to work in any fields of Journalim.Even myself being part of the High way Africa, FJP at Rhodes has helped me to learn to communicate, solve problems and think critical and analytical as a communication Science student. In my own opinion I do appreciate the progress of Journalism education in South Africa at this time.

Now as we are moving into a new century with rapidly changing head of governments, economies, and social issues. Where is journalism education in this mix? Is journalism education ahead of the citizenry or behind what citizens will need to know to make critical social, political and economic decisions for our world? Some journalism educators at South African Universities provided me with their opinions on how they see journalism education in South Africa, the United States of America, Slovenia and India. Most of them argue that journalism education in South Africa is education for democracy.

They also say journalism is a more or less independent field of study across South Africa and world-wide, yet the education and training of journalists is a subject much debated but only rarely researched. As a point of departure it is assumed that although media systems and journalistic cultures may differ widely, the changes and challenges facing journalism education around the world are largely similar. I am impressed with the fact that South African journalism is growing and many journalists are being re-warded for putting more efforts to their work.

20 June, 2008

Arts Festival- Gotta be There

Nqobile Buthelezi (UKZN)

The hip and the happenin will be gathered at grahamstown as from the 26th of June for the National Arts Festival. For those of us who are all for arts, it will truly be heaven. It's time to showcase the hottest talent in the country. Self expression is the latest fashion and for those who are still rigid, its time they move with the times. In the olden days, the 'arts' seemed an irrelevant field, undermined and severely under-payed. However, it is comforting to see our world recognising those with the 'rare' talents beyond maths, accounting, stats or health.

We now live in a world where we have to constantly make known what we feel, either through talking (spoken word, poetry) or through action (drama, dance) or with a splash of paint. Though, to change sceptics, this 'artistic' change is unnecessary, I say; if our world was allowed to shout more, talk more, and do more of soul searching, there would be less of killing, beating, raping and cursing. Think about it. We live in a changed world where everything that mattered doesn't anymore and everything that was of no essence is the center of our world. So, South Africa- get down to Grahamstown for a mind blowing experience... I know I'll be there!!!