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Same old difference in Nairobi

There is nothing like a little trip into Africa to shatter some old stereotypes and confirm a few others. Back in Nairobi last week after an absence of four years I found that things are exactly the same and completely different. I was previously a regular visitor to the Kenyan capital, which can seem like a… Continue reading


One of Africa’s best and brightest coming home

Stopping short of slamming the door on a career in politics, Dr Kanayo F. Nwanze, the Nigerian national who is president of the UN’s International Fund for Agricultural Development, on Thursday made it clear that he would continue to dedicate himself to the service of Africa’s young people when he leaves the Rome-based IFAD in… Continue reading


Fantasy helps us imagine reality

Grahamstown: Karoo Moose keeps the audience enthralled as it tracks back and forth across the line between fantasy and reality, dipping into each and pulling out characters that mostly fall somewhere in between. Somehow in this imagined landscape we begin to get our heads around reality. Set in an impoverished Karoo village, not unlike many… Continue reading


Unmissable raucous bonanza of a show

Back at the Baxter by popular demand: Alistair Izobell’s Remembering the Lux returns to the Baxter from August 25 to September 17 after its runaway success last year … when we thought: Remembering the Luxurama – a multi-layered, multi-coloured, sweet and oh-so-syrupy show – makes you want to say things like unmissable! raucous! bonanza! and extravaganza! It is… Continue reading


Cape-style treats for the people of Jozi

Things are looking up for our brothers and sisters in Jozi. First, the news that the DA (with a little help from Julius and the Red Berets) will soon be filling those potholes, and now a little something else cultivated in the Cape … and I am not talking about Bubbly, although you might want… Continue reading

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Pay Back The Curry! delivers a feast of satire

I was expecting a large helping of slapstick with a dash of spice from Pay Back The Curry!, which opened at the Baxter Theatre on Tuesday, and was delighted to be served a feast of sophisticated satire. The sketches and references were so fresh that it felt like playwright Mike van Graan might be cooking… Continue reading


If you are looking for trouble …

On a mini-tour of Cape Town polling stations on Wednesday I got the message, without exception, that I had come to the wrong place if I was looking for trouble. Not that I was planning to cause any trouble … I received this message loud and clear – if not always in so many words… Continue reading


Dancing out of disadvantage

Dance for All (DFA), an Athlone-based non-profit organisation that gives free dance classes in the townships of Gugulethu, Nyanga, Langa, Khayelitsha and Delft and nearby rural areas, is to celebrate its 25th anniversary with a gala show at Artscape Theatre on August 13. The anniversary gala, being hosted in partnership with Artscape, will take the… Continue reading


Plot to unseat traditional ruler … of teas

South Africans of a certain vintage will remember threats of “die Rooi Gevaar” (the red danger), which many took to be warnings about a secret plot by communists. On Wednesday another theory started to gain ground as it was confirmed that Rooibos tea was secretly advancing in its plot to overthrow Black Tea as the… Continue reading


Drones beam signal to far corners of Earth

People living high up in rocky mountain ranges might think their calm days and meditative nights would be forever free from the temptation to stalk ex lovers or window shop online, but they should be warned: Facebook will soon be beaming signal into your rocky cavern of a lounge via a solar-powered drone circling above…. Continue reading


Simphiwe Dana: Queen of the night

It would have been very difficult to actually upstage Simphiwe Dana on the last night of the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown, but if anyone could it would have to be the legendary South African guitarist Themba Mokoena. Even when sitting down Mokoena, who is in his mid-sixties, seemed to struggle to keep his feet on… Continue reading


Drugs, love, drama … we are all addicts

 Riveting performances in Lara Foot’s new play, The Inconvenience of Wings, which opened at the Baxter Theatre on Thursday night, leave the audience feeling totally exposed in more ways than one. Jennifer Steyn, Mncedisi Shabangu and Andrew Buckland leave it all hanging out, literally and metaphorically, as they explore addiction, co-dependency and fully fledged mental… Continue reading


The sensational Sillage takes Gold

Sillage won a a Gold Ovation Award at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown, the only one given this year.  How I love it when I back a winner: This is what I thought: The lingering scent of derailed destinies At first I wanted the actors in Sillage, at the Princess Alice Hall at the National… Continue reading


Twisted drama feels like a dose of therapy

At a National Arts Festival packed with psycho drama, the dark little comedy Father, Father Father! felt like a good dose of therapy … if not a dose of good therapy. The award-winning play – created by Roberto Pombo, Joni Barnard and Racheal Neary – conjures up all sorts of weirdness and creepy possibility as… Continue reading


Crossing from the sane side

The Search for Intelligent Signs of Life in the Universe at the National Arts Festival is amazeballs! And, forthwith, I will be using amazeballs and other words that I have previously avoided because they sounded a bit too loony. After this brief tour of “sanity” with Trudy, our crazy bag-lady guide, I am happy to… Continue reading


A master of illusion … and charm

If he wasn’t so damn cute Stuart Lightbody would be absolutely maddening. The magician is smart, funny and sweet, adorable even, as he works his tricks on the room in his show, Sleepless Dreams, at the National Arts Festival. He is totally charming and relaxed as he pulls one trick after another, running through one… Continue reading


Absurdity and the essence of life

A combination of caricature, satire, panto and mime, Waterline’s cast of masked characters are incredibly charming and funny as they tackle the absurdity of a life ‘below the water line’ in this cracker of a show at the National Arts Festival. Magnificently expressive and detailed masks, designed by Catherine Jacot-Guillarmod, turn the cast into lovable,… Continue reading


A thrilling mix of grace and power

My weekend’s highlight at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown was always going to be Cape Dance Company’s show. And that was before Mthuthuzeli November’s devastatingly gorgeous solo. I had had a taste of the CDC show during a short run at Artscape in Cape Town earlier in the year. I knew what I was… Continue reading


Expect another steaming day

After a fierce and fiery start to the National Arts Festival on Thursday, expect another steaming day. A couple of brassy birds (Ladies of Midnight Blue) warmed things up on opening day on Thursday and a fiery one (The Firebird) turned the heat right up. By the time I got to Saints bistro for some… Continue reading


As irresistible as it sounds

Ladies of Midnight Blue starts out gently, playfully. Two women drumming. It is rhythmic and somehow hypnotic, you follow them down the path. The beat speeds up faster and faster, two people with so many hands on the drums. You are in a trance, you would follow them anywhere. Next thing you know it is… Continue reading


Grahamstown: Curtain’s up!

A short-ish drive (130km) from Port Elizabeth airport to Grahamstown is just perfect to re-calibrate heart and mind, aka get one in the mood, for the National Arts Festival, which opens on Thursday and runs until July 10. The road to Grahamstown from the airport that most locals, students, actors, producers and a selection of… Continue reading