Hillbrow Theatre’s latest devised work is directed by the skilful Gcebile Dlamini, choreographed by Sibusiso Hadebe with Paul Noko as the dramaturge.In My Mother’s Womb is an evocative story of resilience, spirituality and hope. The play offers an intimate look into what it is like to live with blindness. Drawing from personal stories of the inter-generational cast of youngsters and the elderly, Dlamini challenges the audience to suspend the privilege of sight and use other senses to experience how the blind perceive the world. The production is in collaboration with Tswelopele Frail Care Centre and the Johannesburg Society for the Blind.
In My Mother’s Womb is centred on the protagonist Siphokazi, who was born blind after her mother was bewitched by her family. Determined for Siphokazi to survive, her parents sent her to a special school for the blind where she learns how to cope with her condition. This artistic work explores the nuanced and complex relationship between Christianity and traditional healing and asks if these beliefs can work together.
To awaken one’s spirituality, Dlamini says we all need to crawl back to our mother’s womb and acknowledge our complex existence. She experiments with the womb as the metaphor of darkness and asks the following questions: does one live with generational curses? Does the spirit world exist? Can hope keep one alive? Can tragedy turn into a blessing?
Dlamini says “we learn the true meaning of dreams and hope through the blind. They can touch what we cannot. After every rehearsal of this work I ask myself, what kind of world could we inhabit if we all took the time to understand the world’s forgotten senses.” Through the exploration of blindness, this play is an example of the endless possibilities of how one can express oneself differently in the absence of sight.
In My Mother’s Womb is an innovative performance that we hope will incite engagement and conversation around re-imagining blindness in our communities.
Venue: Hillbrow Theatre
21 March 1:00 PM (Preview)
28 March 6:00 PM
Venue: Drama for Life SA Season
April 13 6:00 PM
April 14 3:30 PM
21 April 3:30 PM
27 April 3:30 PM
28 April 3:30 PM (To be confirmed)
Gcebile Dlamini is one of the core facilitators at the Hillbrow Theatre Project. She is a theatre director, educator, writer and actress from Swaziland. She completed her Diploma in Drama at the Durban University of Technology, B-Tech at the Tshwane University of Technology and an Honours in Applied Drama and Theatre from the University of the Witwatersrand’s Drama for Life Division in 2015. She is a recipient of the Dr. John Kani Theatre for Social Change Award 2015, Naledi award winning Production for Best Community Theatre 2013 and Ovation Award at the National Arts Festival 2013 -2017. Dlamini has collaborated with The Forgotten Angle Theatre Collaborative, the University of Fort Hare (community engagement), Drama for Life and Soul City Soul City.
Paul Noko is a theatre practitioner. He has done extra ordinary work with community theatre groups. His writing credit includes work includes Bucket, Fruit, Hisstory, The Cursed Vagina and Gifted. He has acted in the multi-award-winning Tau directed by Thabiso Rammala and MoMo Matsunyane, Chillagaebolae by Kgafela Oamakgokgodi. His television appearance includes Scandal, Sokhulu and Partner, Isiqumo, Ukholo, Face of Metro 2008 and Crazy entertainers KFC advert. Noko is currently studying a BA Honours in Applied Theatre at Wits Drama for Life.
Sibusiso Hadebe is involved in the Creative Inner-City Initiative (CICI). In 2017 he graduated at Drama for Life (DFL) – Wits University in Applied Drama/Theatre. He has coordinated various performances including Injebo Yakwantu. Hadebe works at the Hillbrow Theatre Project facilitating theatre productions. In 2008, his performance Rock Challenge was awarded best production at the Joburg Stadium. He has been creating contemporary dance pieces annually for the Dance Umbrella through Hillbrow Theatre, as well as music/drama productions for the South African National Community Theatre Association (SANCTA), the Southern African Theatre Initiative (SATI) and Sibikwa Arts Centre.
The Hillbrow Theatre Project is one of the key programmes of the Outreach Foundation, a vibrant community centre situated in the heart of Hillbrow. The Outreach Foundation provides inter-cultural, multi-disciplinary programmes that offer support and development opportunities to the neighborhood’s residents. Through its various activities it presents children, youth and adults with the chance to engage with arts, culture, skills development and heritage activities. In this way it hopes to improve communication, encourage participation and build a strong sense of community in Hillbrow and the inner city.
The Outreach Foundation was started in 1998 with the intention of creating a peaceful and safe haven within the inner city of Johannesburg. Eighteen years later this safe haven is a bustling hub that provides the community with the resources and tools necessary to deal with the many challenges faced in the inner city.
Its activities focus on developing a sense of self-worth for all its participants and seek to inspire creative journeys for all wishing to achieve their full potential. It is through the development and empowerment of individuals that it aspires to build a strong community. All of its projects are driven by its core values of humanity, equality, awareness, passion, political consciousness, anti-violence, transparency and integrity. Its vision is to create a self-sustaining, positively charged and prosperous Hillbrow neighbourhood that inspires the whole of South Africa.