Chuma Sopotela


Chuma Sopotela is a performance artist and researcher interested in exploring acts of sexual violence perpetrated against lesbians in South Africa’s working class communities.

Drawing on both scholarly and autobiographical reserves of knowledge, Sopotela created Untitled, the first in a series of engagements with two landmark works of South African literature, Pumla Dineo Gqola’s Rape: A South African Nightmare and Khwezi: The Remarkable Story of Fezekile Ntsukela Kuzwayo by Redi Tlhabi. The work by the 2018 Standard Bank Young Artist Award-recipient, in the category of Performance Art, is a profound and timely meditation on the impact of sexual violence on the female body. Sopotela explores both the violence of the act and how in the aftermath, the body must find ways to heal itself. 

Jackie Manyaapelo

Threaded through Flesh

Jackie’s focus is Dance-Theatre, or ‘Tanztheater’, a mixed media art form which, after one of its creators Rudolf von Laban, aspires to ‘unite all art media and achieve an all embracing radical change in humankind.’ Syncretic and eclectic, it is an art form which changes with the times and in many ways defines ours – the age of the mash up and remix.

Through a 15-minute dance piece she takes on the challenges which have defined her work – namely the explorations which have inspired her solo piece Satisfaction Index and her lead role in Stravinsky’s Firebird. Jackie’s new work will explore the contemporary moment; styles and expressions; the rites of women; a syncretic African dance theatre form and global vision – threaded through flesh.

Mandisi Sindo

Black Arts & Communities at Heart (BACAH)

Theatre practitioner, curator and community activist Mandisi Sindo is director producer of Khayelitsha’s Makukhanye Art Room and artistic director of the Theatre4Change Arts Project. Makukhanye, the only Shack Theatre in the country, is where he launched his Black Art & Communities at Heart (BACAH) decolonial conversations earlier this year – “decolonial conversations in a space where it matters.” Exploring the importance of Black Art, Black Artists and Black Communities in the democratic South Africa, the series of four open conversations each comprised four stages: written presentation, written response, dissemination and public engagement.

Panashe Chigumadzi

The Crisis of Western Imagination

Panashe Chigumadzi was born in Zimbabwe and grew up in South Africa. Her debut novel, Sweet Medicine, won the 2016 K. Sello Duiker Literary Award. She is the founding editor of Vanguard Magazine, a platform for young black women coming of age in post-apartheid South Africa. A contributing editor to the Johannesburg Review of Books, her work has featured in such titles as the New York Times, Washington Post, Transition, The Guardian and Die Ziet (Germany).

As an ICA fellow, Panashe Chigumadzi delivered the keynote address at 2017 Live Art Festival. Titled The Crisis of Western Imagination, she explored how the work of black artists may give us a different grammar for describing ourselves.



Andrew Mulenga, Zambia

Andrew Mulenga presented the paper For the record: Documenting Zambian performance art, where do we start? at the LANA Symposium. Mulenga is a self-taught, freelance arts journalist whose main focus is documenting the contemporary art scene of his home country Zambia. Mulenga received the 2012 CNN African Journalist Arts & Culture Award and he is a PhD candidate at Rhodes University.

Bernard Akoi-Jackson, Ghana

Bernard Akoi-Jackson presented the paper Must the artist ‘be beautiful’, I mean, really? About disturbed pieces, spot the difference at the Live Art Network Africa (LANA) Symposium. Akoi-Jackson also performed REDTAPEONBOTTLENECK at LANA. Akoi-Jackson is a Ghanaian artist and writer whose work broaches critical absurdity and moves between the genres of dance, poetry, installation, photography and video.

Christian Etongo, Cameroon

Christian Etongo presented the paper Can a performance be ‘replayed’? at the LANA Symposium. Etongo also performed Untitled at LANA. Etongo has for over two decades devoted his career to performance art. Etongo’s work has been featured in various international festivals and he actively promotes arts and culture in Cameroon.

Jelili Atiku, Nigeria

Jelili Atiku presented the paper The Immortal Memory: Activating our DNA at the LANA Symposium. Atiku also performed Jangbala Jubu, or, How to Explain History to American President at LANA. Atiku is a Nigerian multimedia artist – sculpture, performance and video art – whose performances are concerned with issues of human rights and justice.

Laila Soliman, Egypt

Laila Soliman presented tha paper Performing Vulnerability at the LANA Symposium. Soliman is an Egyptian writer and theatre director living and working in Cairo.

N’Gone Fall, Senegal

N’Gone Fall presented the paper Disseminating Live Art at the LANA Symposium. Fall is an independent curator, art critic, and consultant in cultural engineering. Fall has edited books on contemporary visual arts and photography in Africa and is also a founding member of the Dakar-based collective Gaw-Lab, a platform for research and production in the field of new media and visual arts.

nora chipaumire, Zimbabwe

nora chipaurmire performed 100% Pop at 3 Thoughts | 3 Directions in December 2017 (see below). Born in Mutare, Zimbabwe and based in New York, nora chipaumire has for a  number of years been challenging and embracing stereotypes of Africa and the black performing body, art, and aesthetic. chipaumire is a graduate of the University of Zimbabwe’s School of Law and holds a MA in Dance and MFA in Choreography & Performance from Mills College. She has studied dance in Africa, Cuba, Jamaica and the USA and has performed internationally in France, Italy, Japan, Senegal, Zimbabwe, and many other places. chipaumire is a 2016 Foundation for Contemporary Arts grant recipient and a 2015 Doris Duke Artist.

Panaibra Canda, Mozambique

Panaibra Canda presented the paper Necessity and challenges for networks: How can we theorise the practice and creative process of live art as a tool for education and other practices in society? at the LANA Symposium. Canda also performed In Search of the Lost Language at LANA. Canda is an internationally renowned choreographer and dancer. In 1998, Canda founded Mozambique’s first contemporary dance company, CulturArte, and has since encouraged and fostered many local dance projects and artists.



The following writers contributed to the ICA's publication Acts of Transgression: Contemporary Live Art in South Africa in their capacity as ICA Live Art Fellows:

Alan Parker is a choreographer, performer and lecturer at Rhodes University, currently engaged in doctoral research at the University of Cape Town. Parker’s PhD research considers the relationship between live arts and the archive, with a specific focus on choreographic strategies aimed at performing the archive.

Andrew Hennlich is Assistant Professor of Art History in the Gwen Frostic School of Art, Western Michigan University. His specialisation is contemporary South African visual culture. Hennlich’s recent projects include an exhibition and catalogue entitled After the Thrill is Gone: Fashion, Politics and Culture in Contemporary South African Art, an essay ‘Space Invaders: Border Crossing in Dan Halter’s Heartland’ in Safundi, and ‘The Collector’s Asylum: The Politics of Disposability in the Work of Julia Rosa Clark” for Image & Text. 

Bettina Malcomess is a writer, academic and artist. Her work exists in a diverse set of media and forms, ranging from long duration performance, to the staging of shorter interventions, and installation projects to the book. She performs under the name Anne Historical. She co-authored the book Not No Place. Johannesburg, Fragments of Spaces and Times (Jacana, 2013) and is the visual editor of the book Routes and Rites to the City: Mobility, Diversity and Religious Space in Johannesburg (Palgrave, 2017). She has recently formed an interdisciplinary project space called the joining room. Historical/Malcomess' work has shown at various national and international spaces. She is a lecturer in Visual Arts at Wits School of Arts and is currently doing a PhD at Kings College, London.

Catherine Boulle is a writer and researcher based at the ICA with a Masters in English Literature from Oxford University. Her work at the ICA since 2015 has included curating the Institute’s lecture series and symposiums, and initiating new research on contemporary live art in South Africa.

Dee Mohoto is a performer, academic and live sound/voice artist who studied at the University of Cape Town's Drama Department before going on to freelance as a voice coach and performer with a primary interest in voice in performance practice. She is a wordsmith, an artist and general performance junkie.

Gabrielle Goliath Gabrielle Goliath contributed the chapter A different kind of inhabitance: Invocation, and the politics of mourning in performance work by Tracey Rose and Donna Kukama to the forthcoming peer-reviewed collection, Acts of Transgression. Goliath is a multidisciplinary artist known for her conceptually distilled and sensitive negotiations of complex social concerns, particularly in relation to situations of gendered and sexualised violence. She is currently a PhD candidate at the Institute for Creative Arts, University of Cape Town and holds an MAFA from Wits University. 

Jay Pather is a multi award-winning choreographer and curator, Associate Professor at the University of Cape Town, and Director of the Institute for Creative Arts. A Fulbright Scholar, he read for an MA in Dance Theatre at New York University and since then his work has travelled widely both locally and internationally, extending across discipline, site and culture.

Katlego Disemelo contributed the chapter Performing the queer archive: Strategies of self-styling on Instagram to the forthcoming peer-reviewed collection, Acts of Transgression. Disemelo is a media scholar currently engaged in a joint PhD programme at Wits University and the University of Amsterdam. Originally trained in English Literature and Philosophy, he is interested in contemporary representations of marginal black queer sexualities and gender non-conformity across various media platforms. He also has extensive experience in LGBTQIA+ activism in Johannesburg.

Khwezi Gule Khwezi Gule contributed the chapter To heal a nation: Performance in the zone of non-being to the forthcoming peer-reviewed collection, Acts of Transgression. Gule is a curator and writer based in Johannesburg. He is the new Curator-in-chief of the Johannesburg Art Gallery (JAG). Before this he was Chief Curator at the Soweto Museums and Curator: Contemporary collections at JAG. Gule has curated projects locally and internationally, he has contributed essays to various publications, and delivered conference and seminar papers straddling his areas of interest – art and heritage studies.

Massa Lemu is a writer who focuses on contemporary African art, and a visual artist whose multi-disciplinary practice takes the form of painting, drawing, and performance-based installations. He has a PhD from Stellenbosch University and is currently assistant professor of sculpture at Virginia Commonwealth University.

Mwenya B. Kabwe is a Johannesburg-based, Zambian theatre maker, lecturer and mother. Kabwe has a Masters in Theatre and Performance with a focus on theatre making, from the University of Cape Town where she was a lecturer in the Drama Department for four years. She currently teaches in the Theatre and Performance Division of the Wits School of Arts.

Nomusa Makhubu is an art historian and artist. She is the recipient of the ABSA L’Atelier Gerard Sekoto Award (2006) and the Prix du Studio National des Arts Contemporain, Le Fresnoy (2014). She received the UCT-Harvard Mandela Fellowship in 2017. Her current research focuses on African popular culture, photography, interventionism, live art and socially-engaged art. She lectures Art History at the University of Cape Town.

Nondumiso Msimanga​ is an internationally presenting academic and performing artist with a Masters degree from Wits University. She is an independent arts writer and researcher; formerly, a lecturer in the Theatre and Performance Division at Wits University. She is currently a PhD scholar at the University of Cape Town with a focus on protest and performance, in trauma and gender studies. She is the Artistic Director of the Olive Tree Theatre in Alexandra.

Same Mdluli is an artist, art historian, and writer living in Johannesburg, and the recently-appointed manager of the Standard Bank Gallery. Mdluli completed her PhD in History of Art in 2015, and before this completed an MA in Arts and Culture Management at Wits University in 2010. She serves as a panel member for visual arts for the National Arts Council, is a member of the Black Mark: Critical Creative Thought collective and co-director of Sosesame Gallery.

Sarah Nuttall is the Director of the Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research (WiSER). A literary scholar by training, her varied research interests and prolific publication record have established her as a leading cultural commentator and critic, as well as one of the leading scholars of her generation. She has lectured at the University of Stellenbosch and Wits, and has been a Visiting Professor at Yale University and Duke University.



Leila Anderson

Curator, artist, educator and performer Leila Anderson’s first project for her ICA Curatorial Fellowship was to co-curate, with Khanyisile Mbongwa, the 2017 Infecting the City (ITC) festival.  A collaboration between the Africa Centre and the Institute for Creative Arts, the 10th iteration of ITC was firmly focused on making Cape Town a more public city by providing a platform for a broad spectrum of artist and art forms to have a voice in what matters in this moment. The curators’ vision came alive as an exciting four-day programme which included daytime and evening events and a workshop series.  The 2017 festival positioned itself around the question of reparations, power and privilege and how these notions speak to our collective rights.

Mamela Nyamza

Rock to the Core

The name Mamela means “to listen” and, for over two decades, dancer-choreographer Mamela Nyamza has done just that. Listen. To the voices of her family, community, the dance world and herself. The outcome has been a unique approach to dance and performance that is driven by her constant endeavour to challenge herself and the world that she lives in.

As a curatorial fellow, she brought together five artists – Chuma Sopotela, Buhlebezwe Siwani, Zikhona Jacobs, Indalo Stofile and herself – from different genres (dance, visual art, theatre, and music) to produce Rock to the Core, a powerful and confrontational dance piece which “aims to shock, shake and shove all there is to the status quo of arts in South Africa.” Nyamza added: “Just like rock music that changed the culture of the world, and indeed shocked the world, like the dance crazes, fashion styles, and global culture that followed rock music, the work ultimately wants to rock the art fraternity to the core, by demanding change and transformation within the arts and its mainstream exclusive theatres.”