Arts alumni bag awards for world-class theatre excellence

22 October 2020

Celebrations are in order at the Department of Performing Arts, Faculty of Arts & Design, following three of its alumni students bagging awards at the first-ever online Naledi Awards for work they’ve produced last year.

The award for Best Sound Design/Soundscape went to Blessing Jiyane for a production, titled Angola Camp 13, Best Lighting Design to Oliver Hauser for Metamorphosis, and Best Costume/Props Design to Koketso (KC) Kekana for Xova.

Blessing, Oliver and Koketso are overjoyed by the honour.

"It’s a great honour to be recognised by South Africa's longest-standing awards organisation, dedicated to the professional theatre industry. Winning the award validates the hard work and passion I put into the craft. I’m deeply humbled," says Blessing.

Oliver agrees: "The Naledi means we’ve made someone feel something. This, in itself, is extremely humbling – it's what theatre is all about. I've been lighting professionally for over ten years, and it's great to know that my work has made an impact."

Koketso is also grateful for the opportunity she got to work on Xova. “I believe through hard work and teamwork a lot can be achieved. I have been told by my lecturer never to give up, and that's exactly what I did. It feels so wonderful to be acknowledged and recognised for my hard work, and I thank everyone who believed in me and trusted that I'd deliver. However, winning this award does not mean I should now sit down and appreciate being appreciated and acknowledged. This will definitely open more doors and push me to work even harder. Most importantly, I believe that this is one of many more to come.” 

Angola Camp 13 unearths a history many may not know about. The play looks at the human rights violations that took place in the ANC’s camps and reminds us of the forgotten heroes.

Metamorphosis is written by Steven Berkoff and adapted from the eponymous short story by Franz Kafka. The work is uniquely challenging, given the nature of his (Kafka’s) minimalistic, non-naturalistic style. 

Xova focuses on issues such as single mothers who struggle to put bread on the table within homes with absent fathers.

Lecturers at the Department also received the news of their former students with great pride.

"It shows that students who were willing to go the extra mile, give their best, and do more than what was asked, will achieve and succeed. These three students were part of a group of students who immersed themselves in their work. It’s extremely gratifying, in these difficult times, that Entertainment Technology is still delivering. 

Our students and alumni are achieving great results, and South Africa is taking notice of our work," says Hardus Koekemoer (Lighting lecturer).

In congratulating his former student, Motshidisi Manyeneng (Costumes lecturer) says:  "Congratulations on your well-deserved Naledi award KC! This is a very proud moment for the Costume elective within the Department of Performing Arts and the Tshwane University of Technology as a whole. We are indeed gratified and proud of you!" 

“We would like to congratulate all the incredibly talented people who have won, been nominated, or are involved in productions that we saw during 2019. Once again, the bar has been raised and the consensus amongst the judges is that we are privileged to be treated to the very best that South Africa can offer, be it a Broadway musical entrusted to South African producers to create and tour with internationally, or those wonderfully gritty and exceptionally well-crafted, proudly South African productions that grace our boards,” Dawn Lindberg, CEO and Artistic Director of the Naledis,says.

Oliver Hauser.

Koketso Kekana.
Blessing Jiyane.

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