Tina’s Hotel, 14 Beryldene Rd, Kloof
MY TRAVELLING BAG
WEDNESDAY 18 JULY 2018 Show starts 20.00 – TINA’S
THURSDAY 19 JULY 2018 Show starts 20.00 – TINA’S
FRIDAY 20 JULY 2018 Show starts 20.00 – TINA’S
SATURDAY 21 JULY 2018 Show starts 20.00 – TINA’S
SUNDAY 22 JULY 2018 Show starts 14.00 – TINA’S
(Venue opens 90 minutes before show for drinks)
(For Restaurant reservations please contact 031 764 7843)
Nelson Mandela would have turned 100 years old on the 18 July.
We thought it apt to invite Gcina Mhlophe, a well-known South African anti-apartheid activist, actress, storyteller, poet, playwright, director and author to come and share her delightful story telling with you, our patrons. I have included some reviews from the Musho Festival that was held in Durban in 2015.
From a very young age I got to travel all over my home province, KZN. From my hometown Hammarsdale to Pt. Shepstone, to Dundee, to Nongoma, it all seemed like such faraway places. I thought I was the most widely travelled young person ever.
It felt great!
But my beloved grandmother – Gogo sounded a word of warning- “There is a bigger world out there”. , those were wise words indeed. How very prophetic too. In the past 33 years I have been blessed to travel the length and breadth of this amazing world. The number of suitcases I have bought, the stamps in my passports, amazing friendships. Oh the amazing experiences the countless the mementos and memories that fill my head like an enchanted African forest. The amazing theatres, long hours at international airports, delayed flights, the many cultures and frustrating times filled with fear and homesickness.
But nothing can top the joy of sharing the stories of my people on world stages, the magical universality of these stories, proving once and for all that people are more alike than different. In my travelling bag there are all the 33 years of international travelling. But they can only be told and shared, one bowl at a time
Tables seat 6 at Tina’s – R 150-00 a ticket
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EVENING BUFFET – R 99-00 per head (show bookings)
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WEDNESDAY 14 JANUARY @ 8PM – MY TRAVELLING BAG
From a very young age, Gcina Mhlophe got to travel all over her home province, KZN, telling stories. But her gogo sounded a word of warning- “There is a bigger world out there”. Those were wise and prophetic words. In this show, Gcina reflects on 33 years of suitcases bought, stamps in her passports, friendships, missed flights, mementos and memories. They can only be told and shared one bowl at a time.
Written and performed by Gcina Mhlophe.
Jean van Elden
The audience at the 10th Musho Festival opening night was treated to a gem of a performance by the inspirational Gcina Mhlophe. Mhlophe relates amusing tales of her travels from her home-town of Hammarsdale to places such as Port Shepstone, Mount Frere, Johannesburg, London, Basel, Edinburgh, New York, Japan, Canada and even Greenland. Her bubbly personality, animated story-telling and songs kept the audience entranced, leaving them with her many uplifting messages: To travel is to see things. Be good ambassadors for your country. Use your travel experiences to enrich South Africa. Celebrate who we are. Musho Gcina!
Ensuring there are bums on seats in local theatres is an ongoing battle, particularly for innovative new theatre works, so it’s no small feat that the Musho! Festival has grown, and endured for the last ten years. To celebrate this milestone, this year’s festival features many previous Musho! winners and favourites invited back to perform their best productions.
This year’s programme blasted off on Wednesday evening with renowned storyteller Gcina Mhlophe entertaining a full house with her one-woman show, My Travelling Bag.
Mhlophe’s childhood in Hammarsdale is a far cry from the countless theatres and venues she has performed in across the globe over the last three decades, the many theatrical and political titans she has met and worked with, but it’s clear that her simple roots are never far from her mind.
With wit, and a keen eye for the smaller details, Mhlophe shares some of the hilarious, confusing, uplifting and often astounding experiences she has had during her long career on the road. Each story is told with gusto, each account offering insight into the places, the people, their politics and philosophies – and in the telling, sheds insight on the generous spirit of the artist herself.
Technical/sound problems throughout the performance were constantly distracting, but did not derail Mhlophe’s high-energy delivery. Let’s hope that these technical issues are resolved before the next production takes to the boards!
In one of Mhlophe’s reminiscences she speaks of a time in Canada where a man kept insisting he take her to ‘the right place’. Wary, but intrigued, she agrees to accompany the man, who then introduces her to a local chief. She is struck by how closely the chief’s welcome, questions, and concerns resonate with her own rural experience, stating that ‘it was as if she was being welcomed by her own father’. She then realizes that she had, indeed, been brought to ‘the right place’.
Listening to Mhlophe’s experiences, watching her mesmerize an audience with her casual, embracing style, seeing the impact she has on young and old alike, of all races … I am left thinking that on Wednesday evening, Gcina Mhlope brought us all to the right place.
The honour to open the 10th edition of the Musho! Festival was given to Gcina Mhlophe with her story-telling show, My Travelling Bag, reflecting on 33 years of suitcases brought, stamps in her passports, friend ships, missed flights, mementos and memories, as the Musho! programme promises.
The selection of this show tells us a lot of what Musho! sees as her identity. An identity that was reflected in the audience yesterday evening; theatre-lovers, theatre-makers, politicians, professional and community-theatre actors, movers and shakers from the theatre industry in Durban even some old Musho! friends from Jo’burg and Cape Town. An audience that wants to celebrate 10 year needs a show that can unite and entertain a proudly South African show on a high professional level and that is what Gcina Mhlophe gives her audience.
“There is a bigger world out there!” is not only a wise and prophetic statement of Gcina Mhlope’s grandmother, but talks about the identity of South Africa and how also in this time, it should and could relate to the surrounding world, go out and come back and take back what you found out there. Gcina Mhlophe’s personality and stage presence incorporates this dynamic identity without any arrogance and shares it with the audience.
There are moments in the show that she touches the audience when she talks about her preconceptions about other cultures and how these, on a personal level are seldom true. It is always the personal contact with students, audiences, managers and ordinary people that is more intriguing than any political or social message. Without preaching Gcina Mhlophe makes us realise that true friendship survives all differences if you have an open and curious mind, like she has.
That is a powerful and positive message to take with you, leaving the theatre, ending up in the foyer, drinking a glass, eating a piece of cake and talking a lot about this wonderful storyteller.
Last night I went on the most amazing journey, I visited faraway countries including Holland, Germany, Canada, UK, Switzerland, Japan.. and the countries kept on coming. Cities like London, New York, Basel, Amsterdam, Chicago, Sheffield …and the cities kept on coming. I was not high on anything; I was high on the most exhilarating journey with our very own South African story teller icon Gcina Mhlophe.
She took us on the most amazing journey from her child hood growing up in the Eastern Cape to Johannesburg and Hammersdale. She thought globe-trotting was between the provinces within South Africa but her Gogo always said, “there is a big world out there, go and find its life experiences”. And this she did. She has performed all over the world, won many accolades for her writing and poetry, taught at various centres and performed at Festivals as far afield as the famous Edinburgh Festival.
She represented SA at the unveiling of the 2010 World Cup Logo and has many artistic credits to her name including the song “HOPE”.
If you enjoy a good story and want to be caught up in an incredible life journey, try and catch this piece of work somewhere. Not only will it astound you at this woman’s achievements during the past decades in South Africa, but will allow you to see a true master at great story telling.
Gcina – we are very privileged to still have you at home in our country, as you had many opportunities to be elsewhere pursuing your career.
THANK YOU for coming “home”.
Gisele Turner: Going Places
It was a night of champagne and chocolate cake, a giddy collection of Durban’s theatre elite and media and a wonderful narrative from one of our top cultural ambassadors, Gcina Mhlophe. The Catalina Theatre was packed to the back with patrons eager to be a part of this special celebration: 10 years of PANSA’s successful MUSHO! a festival that has earned a reputation for interesting, exciting, cutting edge productions and the only way for aficionados to start the year.
Emma Durden, who has been the director of the Musho! Festival since its inception, has every right to feel proud and happy that this festival, a celebration of one and two person productions, has survived a decade in Durban. The festival has also been expertly marketed by the Publicity Matter team, led by Illa Thompson.
For the participant, there are great prizes, a valuable platform for new works and a chance to make a name. For the patrons, there’s the opportunity to vote for the audience favourite, enjoy local and nationally acclaimed works and be part of the artistic buzz. The inclusion of hot-off-the page productions by community theatre groups from TWIST gives a fresh dimension to the festival and the energy of a thriving water front venue helps to keep this festival one of the foremost in Kwa-Zulu Natal.
Gcina Mhlophe was the opening act of Musho! 2015, with her one woman piece My Travelling Bag. Singer, story teller, academic, writer, director and international star, Gcina started at the beginning, introducing us to her Gogo In Hammarsdale and showing us how her horizons broadened to include Johannesburg and then Europe, a gateway to many adventures in many far-flung places.
Gcina’s production is a narrative that allows the viewer into her life and life style. Making light of the troubled times in SA, yet referring to the apartheid regime as a context in which she matured and developed both her capacity to handle misfortune and her ability to transform experiences into art, Gcina has a rare destiny, a destiny in keeping with her talent to entertain. She radiates confidence and ease on stage, treats patrons as though they were good friends and shares her thoughts, opinions and history with generosity and energy.
The ready laughter from the auditorium and the standing ovation given Gcina secured the sense of success for the opening night of Musho! 2015.
Keith Millar – ArtSMart
The Musho! Festival, Durban’s popular annual showcase of one and two hander productions, which is taking place at the Catalina Theatre at Wilson’s Wharf this week, is celebrating its 10th anniversary. To commemorate this auspicious occasion artists and productions which have been audience favourites over the past ten years have been invited to take part in the five day festival in what is effectively a “best of” compilation.
No better artist could have been invited to open the festival on Wednesday night than South Africa’s iconic storyteller, the wonderful and inspirational Gina Mhlophe.
Mhlophe is an internationally-renowned activist, actor, storyteller poet, playwright, director, and educator. During her lifetime she has travelled to many parts of the world entertaining and educating countless numbers of people.
It is these experiences that she relates to the audience in her marvellous production My Travelling Bag. With fabulous wit, immense charm and more than a little wisdom she regales her audience with tales which range from her first trip to England when she was still a nervous young lady through to her experiences across Europe, in America and Canada, and far flung lands such as Iceland and Columbia.
Her stories are told with self-deprecating humour and with wonderful insight into the places she has visited and the people she has met.
She radiates joy and amazement when talking of the many great events she has been involved in and of the countless unusual experiences she has had.
Her show ends with a deeply meaningful message of hope for South Africa and its people.
To say that she held her audience – including many of Durban’s theatre and entertainment luminaries – in the palm of her hand is an understatement. They sat transfixed by her every word. Her show run longer than advertised but there were no complaints. In fact I sure everyone wanted her to keep going on and on. One cannot help but to feel honoured to have been entertained by this national treasure.
On stage, Gcina Mhlophe is the manifestation of all of her travels…the excitement and awe of a child exploring beyond her doorstep, a young woman mediating the busy rush and constraints of life in pre-democracy South Africa, and the encounters beyond Africa that culminate in her finding her treasure as an agent of change and reflection in South Africa.
Engaging in the form of auto-ethnographic performance, Mhlophe weaves each encounter through oral and personal narrative. This medium of performance in South Africa is significant, as Mhlophe’s career will show, because it demonstrates how women resisted the repression of their voices in less overt ways, using language, song and dialect to celebrate their sense of being and identity.
Mhlophe enters the stage, suitcase in hand, and begins to recall her travels as a young girl, describing the ritual act of dressing up in a beautiful dress and Vaseline shoes. The envy of her classmates, Mhlophe travels comfortably with her Gogo escaping mundane life in Hammarsdale. Mhlophe’s grandmother imparts words of advice, not only to stem the child’s belief that she has already experienced the entire world, but more importantly to encourage her youthful desire to experience her dreams. The comfort and confidence with which she travels as a child is hilariously shaken up by travel characterised by cold weather and people who are far too polite.
Gcina engages in many comical moments which I found to be quite endearing. Picked on for finding difficulty in adjusting to a more rural life as a child in the Eastern Cape, she reminds herself that there is more to life than the difficulties which threaten to squash her dreams. Other hilarious moments include Gcina’s experience of gradually upgrading her mode of transport from ‘luxury’ buses to cable cars in Switzerland. The audience also enjoyed interacting with Mhlophe, assisting her in situations where she had been unfamiliar with words and phrases in foreign countries.
When Mhlophe takes the audience with her beyond the borders of Africa, the heavens, as she suggests, plan to make her journey an increasingly spiritual one. Parts of her own life and tradition are reflected in other cultures, customs and languages. On stage Mhlophe transforms from a sometime nervous traveller to a woman having discovered herself and her dreams.
In its tenth year the Musho! Festival has opened with a performer whose energy and charm is encouraging for all South Africans who need to find their own treasure. Ngiyabonga, and Domo arigato Gcina Mhlophe.
A journey through Gcina Mhlophe’s memories of her extensive travels as a performer is an apt choice to open the Musho Festival’s nostalgic 10th anniversary showcase of festival favourites.
But for me it was a mixed travel bag. Gcina’s humour, charm and skilful engagement with the audience were wonderful as always, but I would have preferred more word pictures, more evocative descriptions such as that of “polishing hospital benches” and less of a travelogue at times.
As the Catalina can be a problem for a solo performer if it rains; it may be due to the threat of bad weather that Gcina was miked: A smaller more securely taped mouthpiece might have been less intrusive or distracting.
However, her enthusiasm; an emotional recollection of a visit to an indigenous community in Canada in the middle of the night and the humour in her regular experiences of the intense cold in Northern climates as well as her patriotism inspired a standing ovation.