Phuma-Langa by Mamela

Enacting Culture and Tradition, simplicity; blending symbolism and movement. In what seemed to be a rather abstract work, one cannot help mention that not only beauty but an artistic voice was found. Mamela’s work although I must admit as it began I was questioning were it was going…dancers who were seemingly blind throughout the work, moved and played like little kids.

As the work grew I began to see beyond the mere movements being done, rather I tried to visualise what she was visualising in my head, perhaps piece together my own meaning. I failed miserably… I enjoyed the idea of taking dancers out of dancing context, the idea of using simply movements from culture/tradition turning it to a full work, and interconnecting all that together.

The show was disturbed by load shedding, rather than that taking away from the performance, dancers continued to move. For me, I haven’t seen the original piece but I believe the load shedding perhaps made the work even more better; as it created an intimate moment between the work, the performers and the audience. The audience suddently became part of the work. Again a question I leave at the back of your mind is: can one do justice in performing culture/tradition? I don’t have the answers but what I do have is this. As creator you make your perspective and let us see through your eyes…what we intepret could be entirely different but…that is what art is about, interpretation.

I think the work was lovely, it grew on me as time went on… the costume was perhaps one of the most creative bits in the work. A friend of mine jokingly said “Is it because black people can’t swim” and I thought why not… our culture or the meaning of our culture as black people is being drowned and perhaps we need these tubes worn by the performers to protect it from drowning. I would recommend it to someone who wants to experience creatively abstract work. You will either find it odd or creative


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