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ANOTHER NEW PAGE: The Robert Mshengu Kavanagh School of Acting


Founded i November last year [2018], the Robert Mshengu Kavanagh School of Acting has now completed two Foundation courses, its first Intermediate course and now the first Advanced Course. The programme consists of three modules: Foundation; Intermediate and Advanced. For more details go to page.







AFRICAN NON-REALIST THEATRE: The Making of “Hamba Kahle, Mkhonto”


As I suggested in a previous posting – ‘African Non-Realism, Western Realism, and Building A Character In The Theatre’ – African art before the arrival of Western realism by and large did not see verisimilitude, in other words the copying of empirical reality, as an aesthetic goal. I have also contended that the origins of African theatre lie in ritual, storytelling, play and labour[2]. Of these four, it is ritual that is most closely related to realism. Only that element of contemporary African theatre which suggests it has been deleveloped from ritual, can be said to approximate to Western realism. Another characteristic of African theatre – and African art in general – is that it is not as strictly articulated in form as much Western theatre is. In other words, it blends different arts and forms in the same production – for example, music, dance, mime, storytelling, poetry, realism, didactism and so on.

READ MORE Hamba Kahle






AFRICAN NON-REALISM, WESTERN REALISM, AND BUILDING A CHARACTER IN THE THEATRE

 

For all those centuries before the arrival of the Europeans, very few artists in Africa thought of imitating reality. What was the point? Reality is one thing and art is another. From Egypt and the Horn of Africa to West Africa and as far south as the Cape, art, with very few exceptions, had little time for verisimilitude or for ‘holding as ‘twere a mirror up to nature’ [Hamlet V.ii] Performance in Africa can be traced back to four human activities: ritual; story-telling; work; and play. Of the four origins of African performance, only ritual in some respects resembles European realism. In some respects – yes, but in many ways quite different. . African craftsmen and artists explored with all the power of their imagination the symbolic, the spiritual, the decorativeness or the usefulness of their subjects. African masks for instance very seldom attempt to approximate human features.

READ MORE African non-realism



MOST RECENT PUBLICATIONS:



 "OUR DESTINY IS IN OUR HANDS": A HISTORY OF GOVERNANCE IN NIGERIA SINCE INDEPENDENCE

Dr Yusuf Gamawa 
 

Nigeria is an African giant. However it is a giant whose limbs and organs have been taken from many old bodies and stitched together. From its inception, its first major task was to get all these body parts melded and welded as one. As with many modern African nations that were once colonies, at Independence Nigeria faced enormous challenges. Colonialism had never had as one of its goals the forging of viable modern independent nations. Just as the European nations scrambled for their bits and pieces of Africa so when it suited them they scrambled to cast them precariously into the bogs and whirlpools of political independence. No wonder that even the first Prime Minister of Nigeria, Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, and other leaders of the different regions in the country denied the very existence of the nation they had been elected to govern. Nigeria and being Nigerian, they commented, was an artificial concept. None of them had ever been trained or given the opportunity to govern. The economy they inherited and the infrastructure that served that economy was never intended to be anything else but a conduit of colonial wealth to the mother country. Then those who now took over and those who found themselves in the armed forces, soon realized that they had the muscle to do whatever they liked. All their lives they had been denied access to the fruits of their country’s wealth while at the same time they watched the small white population living the life they now itched to live. The inevitable result was the coups and corruption that has characterized much of Nigeria’s history.

The strength of “Our Destiny Is in Our Hands” – a quote from the Foreword by  Mohammudu Buhari, now President of Nigeria, is that while Gamawa’s book does not flinch from narrating the greed and the shocking abuse that characterises his country’s history so far, he also shows how Nigerians have demonstrated that they can get it right and have registered significant advances. There is still a great deal to be done before the African giant flexes its muscles and walks onto the international arena to fulfill its full potential. Nigerians can do it. Their destiny is in their hands. 




ANOTHER RECENT THEMBA PUBLICATION:

A Contended Space: The Theatre of Gibson Mtutuzeli Kente

Gibson Mtutuzeli Kente [1932-2004] was the most successful entrepreneur and his plays the most popular in the history of South African theatre. This book describes and assesses his phenomenal achievement and traces his development in the context of the growth of indigenous South African theatre and the social and cultural history which produced it from the earliest beginnings up to the present time. In doing so Kavanagh makes use of resources not hitherto accessible, including the scripts and music of some of his plays







[SEE REVIEWS] https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&pid=sites&srcid=ZGVmYXVsdGRvbWFpbnxybXNoZW5ndWt8Z3g6MTYwZTA4ZmRjMWU2M2EwZg
and 
https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&pid=sites&srcid=ZGVmYXVsdGRvbWFpbnxybXNoZW5ndWt8Z3g6M2EyNTdlMTk0ZTgwZmQxNA

Also see my Author's Page :https://www.amazon.com/author/robertkavanagh

 

PHOTOS OF THE FAMILY:

[LEFT TO RIGHT]

Bongi and Mutemwa KwaNene;

3 shots of the wedding in Vic Falls;

Khaya, Bongi's daughter, with her aunt, Thando, in Cairo.

My son. Njabulo.