A creased red cloth lies spread across the stage – leaving only the peripheries to exist. A topless Mamela Nyamza is enveloped in an oversized white balletic tutu on the outskirts of this fabricated red sea. Above her, a washing-line streams across the space above the stage.
At the front of the stage, we see an older Amkele Mandla sketching fragments of a life only he has lived. The mother-and-son duo are about to take us on a journey that explores identity, belonging, and growth in both a contemporary performative space, as well as an intrusive insight to battles Nyamza and Mandla have conquered.
Hatched is the 10-year follow-up to her piece Hatch that explored her intersectional relationship with the arts and dance industry, as well as her positionality as a mother and a queer, black woman.
Infusing a rich movement dialogue of ballet, South African dance trends, and a refreshing introduction to the “trap” scene, Hatched adds to the National Arts Festival theme of ‘Voices and Silences’ by portraying her stylized resistance to (dance) cultures and identity, tradition and transformation.
While Nyamza grapples with drifting between the multidisciplinary worlds of Eurocentric and traditional forms, we see the hybridisation of the trap scene seeping its way into the festival through Mandla’s reflective rap lyrics. This reflection speaks to his thoughts on growing up as the son of one of South Africa’s poignant and revolutionary dancers.
Seeing their relationship unfold on stage, guided by a mix of music genres, Hatched evokes an authentic desire to understand who one is and how one wrestles compositional confrontations in this contemporary space.
By Kyle Prinsloo