MEET THE CREATIVE TEAM
Lebo Mashile is an award-winning poet, author, presenter, actress, and producer. She is a South African household name who is most recognisable for her lyrical and gutsy poetry which has captivated audiences in 28 countries over the last two decades.
Venus vs Modernity: The Life of Saartjie Baartman marks Mashile’s first foray into penning a full length theatrical production. She has previously acted in the Academy-award nominated film Hotel Rwanda, the stage adaptation of K. Sello Duiker’s The Quiet Violence of Dreams, as well as Ngyidansa, the stage adaptation of Pamela Nomvete’s autobiography by the same name. She also collaborated with renowned choreographer and founder of Moving into Dance Mophathong, Sylvia Glasser, on Threads, a fusion of contemporary dance and poetry.
Mashile won the NOMA Award for Publishing in Africa in 2006 for her premier collection In A Ribbon of Rhythm (Oshun) which was also published in German by Wunderhorn. In 2008 she released Flying Above the Sky, her second book of poetry. Her writing has been referenced in academic journals, has appeared in literary journals as well as mainstream publications, and is taught in high schools and tertiary institutions across South Africa. As a recording artist, Mashile has two studio albums under her belt, Lebo Mashile Live! (2006) and Moya (2017).
The poet shot to national fame as the presenter and producer of travel documentary series L’atitude (SABC1). She also presented Drawing The Line (SABC2) and Great Expectations (Etv). For the past three years, she has been the voice of CNN’s Inside Africa.
Pamela Nompumelelo Nomvete has worked in the entertainment industry for over thirty years as an actress, writer, director, educator and producer. After graduation from the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in July 1985, she embarked on a successful 9 year stage career in the UK after which she started working in South Africa in 1994. While in South Africa she continued to develop a successful career and became a household name because of her role in the popular South African Soap Opera, Generations.
Pamela returned to the UK in 2007 and continued to work in the industry as well as write her first book, an autobiography, Dancing to the Beat of the Drumthat was launched in South Africa in October 2014 having been published by Kwela Books. She spent a year on the longest running soap opera on English television, Coronation Street before returning to South Africa in 2014.
In June 2014 she wrote, directed and produced “Ngiyadansa” at the Joburg Theatre. Currently she works with various grass roots organisations using drama workshops to build self esteem for the development and empowerment of young African female artists.
She hosted and is the founder of the Rise Up and Walk International Youth Arts Festival in August 2015 in partnership with Joburg Theatre Youth Development Department.
Her most recent award was for best actress at the NAFCA (African Oscars) held in LA in September 2015, for her role in Nicholas Beveney’s film cut of his new political thriller television series, Kingmakers.
At the end of 2016 Pamela decided to return to South African stage and screens as an actress and ended up playing Tutu Leah to Forest Whitaker’s Archbishop Desmond Tutu, directing the Play Another Ones Bread by Mike Van Graan, that ran at the AFDA theatre in Cape Town and the Market Theatre in Johannesburg and is currently in the Mzanzi Magic hit show Lockdown for Mzanzi Magica.
Her credits include the Emmy nominated HBO film directed by Raul Peck and acting alongside Idris Elba
Koleka Putuma is an award-winning poet, playwright and theatre director.
Her bestselling debut collection of poems Collective Amnesia is taking the South African literary scene by storm. Since its publication in April 2017, the book is in its 10th print run and is prescribed for study at tertiary level in South African Universities and Gothenburg University in Sweden. The collection is the recipient of the 2018 Glenna Luschei Prize for African Poetry, named 2017 book of the year by the City Press and one of the best books of 2017 by The Sunday Times and Quartz Africa. It is translated into Spanish (Flores Rara, 2019), German (Wunderhorn Publishing House, 2019), Danish (Rebel with a Cause, 2019), Dutch (Poeziecentrum, 2020), Swedish (Rámus förlag). Forthcoming translations: Portuguese (Editora Trinta Zero Nove), and Italian (Arcipelago itaca).
Her theatre works include UHM (2014) Woza Sarafina (2016), and Mbuzeni (2017/8). Her theatre for young audiences include Ekhaya (2 – 7 year olds), and SCOOP: Kitchen play for carers and babes, the first South African theatre work for audiences aged 0 – 12 months old.
Putuma was appointed as creative director for the 2019 Design Indaba Conference. She was recently shortlisted as one of four finalists for the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative for theatre. She is a Forbes Africa Under 30 Honouree, recipient of the Imbewu Trust Scribe Playwrighting Award, Mbokodo Rising Light award, CASA playwrighting award and the 2019 Distell Playwrighting Award for her play No Easter Sunday for Queers, published by Junkets in February 2020, and played to sold out audiences at the Market theatre in 2019.
Koleka Putuma is the Founder and Director of Manyano Media, a multidisciplinary creative company that produces and champions the work and stories of black queer artists and queer life.
Anne Masina is a versatile, talented and formidable big woman with an even bigger voice that breezes through operas, classical, gospel, African traditional, jazz and pop music with great aplomb.
She recently won the Naledi Theatre Award for Best Breakthrough Performance for her role in the title character of Venus in the play Venus Vs Modernity: The Story of Saartjie Baartman by Lebogang Mashile. The play marks Masina’s first foray into acting, and her breathtaking performance shows that her talents extend well beyond singing.
Masina began her career as a soloist in 1994. In 1999 she joined the Nick Malan Opera House now known as the Cape Town Opera House under Prof. Angelo Gobbato performing operas such as Carmen and Aida to critical acclaim.
From 2005-2009 she worked with celebrated choreographer Robyn Orlyn and toured Europe extensively in her productions.
From 2007-2009 Masina was a member of the 2 time Grammy award winning Soweto Gospel Choir. 2014-2015 saw her performing at Soweto Theatre and Jo’Burg Theatre in Colour Me Human, a musical produced by Steve Dyer.
From 2012 until the present she has toured the world as a part of William Kentridge’s prolific productions.