Nyamza to help SA artists

Mamela Nyamza was appointed deputy artistic of the SA State Theatre.
Mamela Nyamza was appointed deputy artistic of the SA State Theatre.
Image: Esa Alexander

Choreographer, dancer and gender activist Mamela Nyamza has been appointed deputy artistic director of the South African State Theatre (SAST) in Pretoria.

The 42-year-old acclaimed dancer and choreographer was born and bred in Gugulethu, near Cape Town. She assumed her new role yesterday.

Nyamza will be working closely with the Education Youth Children Theatre (EYCT), which focuses on the development of young artists in the industry.

She would further initiate development programmes and ensure integration of the overall artistic programme.

According to SAST chief executive, Dr Sibongiseni Mkhize, Nyamza's key role will be to provide support to the Artistic Director creatively and administratively.

"The appointment comes at a time when the State Theatre has committed to taking over the Dance Umbrella Festival from 2019.

"One of South Africa's biggest dance festivals took a bow over funding battles in March 2018 during its 30th edition. Ms Nyamza will be at the helm of the festival as its curator when it re-launches in April 2019," Mkhize says.

The excited Nyamza tells Time Out that she is deeply honoured.

She says her ultimate vision is to create and direct more work that would reach the most remote areas of SA to unearth young and raw talent.

"I want to express my appreciation to the State Theatre, and particularly the artistic director for putting his trust in me..."

Her professional dance journey began when she enrolled with Tshwane University of Technology, where she obtained her national diploma in ballet.

In 1997, she was the resident dancer and choreographer for the theatre. Besides being a freelance artist, for the last three years she sat on the advisory panel in dance for the South African National Arts Council (NAC).

She has produced controversial shows such as De-Apart-Hate, Hatched, I Stand Corrected which was produced in collaboration with UK-based artist Mojisola Adebayo. Her other shows include Isingqala, Amafongkong, and African Footprints.

Her immense contribution to dance and the arts broadly saw her being the first dance artist to be chosen as the Featured Artist at the 2018 National Arts Festival.