Category Archives: My Projects

THE MAN IN THE GREEN JACKET

In the end, we must all move on. Well. Sort of.

He is finally here. If you're in Joburg this October, please join us for the premiere of my new production.
He is finally here. If you’re in Joburg this October, please join us for the premiere of my new production.

When everything else goes wrong, hope is the only thing left to count on.

The play is set against the backdrop of an impending labour unrest; a retired mine worker, John Ledwaba, has become a recluse since the death of his wife. His militant son, Oupa Ledwaba, tries to persuade him to let go of the trauma of the past and live again; that out of the ashes there can be growth, a new life to live. John refuses to let go. Afraid of ending up like John, Oupa forces his father to face their reality he has avoided for many years. Will the father ever “live” again?

Written, in part, as a response to the Marikana massacre, the play asks whether there can be growth through tragedy. It also poses questions of our responsibility, as a society, in the aftermath of Marikana, especially the continuing challenges facing the affected families and children.

“For its often refreshing originality, its successful subtleties of theme and character and its determination to provoke discussion rather than violence; I think The Man in the Green Jacket is a must see play.” Maurice Posniak

Follow the event on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/events/610581345646609/

Eliot Moleba is a story

 

From left to right: Nena, Antonio, Sondos and Eliot (me)
From left to right: Nena, Antonio, Sondos and Eliot (me). What a lovely group of people I have met in the past few days since my arrival at the D&F Academy.

Who am I?

Eliot Moleba is a story. His story is of a playwright, theatre-maker and director based in Johannesburg, South Africa. He is very passionate about storytelling and believes that we, as human beings, are made up of no more than a collection of stories. As such, these stories continuously shape and influence who he was, is and will be. Given this immense power of storytelling with the potential to change or transform us, Moleba uses it as a device to identify, highlight and advocate for social transformation and change issues in South Africa. He believes that it is through our stories that we remind ourselves and each other what it means to experience, share and embrace our common humanity.

Why am I here?

In partnership with Drama For Life and Education Africa, Eliot Moleba has founded The Marikana Scholarship Fund to aid the displaced and stranded children of the miners who were tragically killed in the confrontation with police at the Marikana mine in South Africa. The labour unrest across the country, especially the Marikana tragedy, has left many families without breadwinners. This initiative is founded on the belief that unless something is done to help secure the future of the affected children, the perpetual cycle of illiteracy and unemployment will continue to rise and remain an epidemic for the next generation, and that education is the key to breaking the cycle.
The Fund will be collecting donations both locally and internationally to support the education of the children of those who died in the Marikana tragedy, with the hope of raising enough funds to cater for primary, secondary and tertiary education. The project will also partner with local and international universities and schools.

Eliot Moleba has also created a theatre production, The Man In The Green Jacket, which is, in part, a response to the Marikana massacre. The theatre production openly dramatizes the question of how such a tragic event will affect the immediate (and extended) family members of the late miners. It will tour locally and internationally to raise both awareness about the tragedy and funds for the communities directly affected by the aftermath.

Contact Details

Dear all,

Please note that I have finally set up new email accounts (under my domain).

So from now on whenever you need to contact me, please use the details below:

For potential collaborations and general enquiries:

Email: info(at)eliotmoleba(dot)com

I look forward to interacting with you all!

Pictures: Sizwe Banzi is Alive

My New Play

This is the man who my current play is, in part, based on. When the Marikana Massacre happened, he has the only face identified as a leader. He died among the men he led. Such a brave man, yet we know so little about him.
This is the man who my current play is, in part, based on. When the Marikana Massacre happened, he was the first face to be identified as a leader. He died among the men he led. Such a brave man, yet we know so little about him.

Who is he?

Where is he from?

Who is the man behind his face?

These are some of the questions that sparked the creation of “The Man In The Green Jacket”

A play which deals with the latest labour unrest that hit South Africa last year.

Apartheid in South Africa

In this play, my attempt was not so much to directly speak to the politics of the labour unrest, but to understand the personal politics of the face behind the man who put his life on the line to fight for what he believed in. What personally motivated this for him? I wanted to reveal the effects of the politic narrative through his life. Such bravery is something that has not been seen in South Africa since the days of apartheid. Now we are fighting a different apartheid, and I call it an economic apartheid. Beyond our colour-line politics, not much has changed in our country for ordinary black South Africans. And the labour unrest hightlighted this plight of the poor, which is why the government gunned them down. Their strike was perhaps the first act of solidarity among the working class since the strike of the 1973 where workers united in spirit and numbers to shake the moral core of our racist regime. This spirit is dead, or was, until the Marikana miners decided to end their silence and speak out against their common plight at the hands of our repressive economic apartheid.

Apartheid in South AfricaSouth Africa is perhaps yet to realize a truly meaningful political and economic transition. The miners demonstrated that just like the apartheid could not suppress the freedom of blacks forever, so is the plight of the average working class. We are heading for a revolution! It is brewing under the belly of this country and we are starting to see fumes and steams of it blow up. The façade of freedom and economic development of South Africans the government has promised is wearing off – it will be ironic that a real full revolution in this country will be against a black government. The very people who fought apartheid are now sitting at the helm of economic apartheid just so that they can enrich themselves. But no man escapes his judgment, our days are numbered.

Watch this space!

The people will rise again.

Their voice’s echo will break the shackles of economic apartheid.

Amandla!

Awethu!

(Power, to the people)

Tribute to Nelson Mandela

For the love of art! As a tribute to Nelson Mandela, I’ve agreed to be a part of artists who are going to workshop a 20-30 minutes piece of theatre in less than 36 hours. With no time for preparations I’ve to jump in with 2 actors and embark on a wonderful creative journey. These performances will be stage in one of the local township. Do join us on Wednesday to see what our artistic impulses have to offer. Let go and let art. The countdown starts now. Let the games begin…

The team:

I was given a pair of such talented individuals, especially Thando Mzembe. What a remarkable young performer with a critical and dynamic mind. His partner, I misplaced her name, was a formidable young actress in her 2nd year in UCT. They were a really nice pair of performers, and what a privilege it was to work with them.

The process:

With less than 48 hours left, I took a pen and paper and I went around The Green Backpackers where we were staying to interview people about what they thought of Nelson Mandela and what they would say to him if they met him in person. It was interesting to note the different views between South Africans’ attitude to the foreigners or tourists. Everyone from outside our borders loved Nelson Mandela unreservedly and yet very few South Africans share this ‘heroic’ icon he has become, especially black people. And their reasoning is simple; very little of their lives have changed. They still live in squalid deteriorating conditions, so the novelty of a ‘heroic’ Madiba does not seem to have done much for them. However, others, despite noting the same plight and poverty they have been plunged into, especially in Cape Town where the racial tensions of our bitter history still lurks, they continue to hold him as an icon of love, peace and integrity. These views, often opposing, provided the basis for my process.

As a visual person, I reduced these tensions to an image. A black man in his early 20s cramped into a tiny shack which is clustered with piles of newspapers, books, magazines, loose pages, etc. He is a local journalist who is waiting for a phone call from his boss to know whether he is the selected candidate to go around his community to record and write an article about what people think about Mandela and their plans for the Mandela Day. After 10pm at night, Dr. Mara introduced me to the the actors; and this image became the central working premise for our workshop. We placed the story within a contemporary South African socio-political landscape because this is the closest reference we all shared and did not have time to research possible other time frames. So we located the story in Gugulethu and Khayelitsha where the actors lived – I teased them on specific views their communities might have about Mandela. We pulled out different and interesting characters from the communities to comment on Mandela – a narrative of these mixed feelings re-surfaced again and we decided to focus on a strand of them all which seemed optimistically carry a message of hope. Even gangsters seemed to respect him, or so we could establish a few. Though others blamed him for the lack of radical transformative economic policies to develop local communities.

2 hours later it was 12pm and the actors had to go home. I gave them a homework to speak to people, ask them about their views and what they would like to say or do for Mandela Day. The next day we met again and re-worked our narrative with real testimonies of people. In a way, given the disparities in views, instead of making a decision about which side to sway the argument, I let the testimonies of the people we interviewed speak for itself. Using most of these statements, we crafted a journey of a small man in his young career who is excited about a journey to cover the most important article of their July calendar – something that is an honour both within his workplace and community as a whole. It is a prestigious effort because everyone in the community will read that specific article; it will be read by doctors, lawyers, builders, loansharks, sangomas, taxi-drivers, etc. If you can’t read, it will be read to you; all you have to do is politely ask anyone. Such an honour is accorded to this man who wants to reflect the views of everyone in the community. Through him, we meet his community and interact with the local folk.

However, after an exhausting weekend gathering information, now he faces the difficult part; pulling all the pieces together to produce an article. The opinions are so varied and he must make the hardest choice of who to include or not. What he should also say about Madiba in the article now that he is exposed to so many opposing views. The work does not answer this question, however, it puts it to the audience to decide – from the testimonies they have heard – what are their views? Nonetheless, the young man does offer his account, very close to the actor’s own opinion, that irrespective of our different views of the man, the world would be a better place if we had more people like him.

36 Hours later…

Mandisi Lovemore Mara Sindo (aka Dr) wrote:

The Game is Up, Dr is Taking Theatre into another level.. Who said creative artists can not make a piece in Two days?…Once again Theatre4Change presents Madiba Theatrical Magic… Thanks to Loyiso Damoyi, Abongile Kroza, Mhlanguli George, Elliot Moleba (JHB Director of Sizwe Bansi is Alive) and other artists whom they availed themselves to be creative enough and create 20-30minutes short plays in two days. These 5/6 short plays/shows are to be presented at Makukhanye Art Room on Wednesday at 3 – 6 pm. Late coming is not accepted and late comers will not be allowed to enter the venue. Audience will donate from R2 up to any Rand. Come and enjoy the 60 minutes with these extremely talented individuals. If anyone wants to present something, please let me know and it must not be longer than 15 minutes.

Unite Jozi and Cape
Town in Theatre.

And 46 Hours later…

We made magic! The actors gave a fantastic and spontaneous performance!

Cape Town, July 2012.

Sizwe Banzi is Alive honours the memory of June 16, 1976

Hector-Peterson
Come watch us honour the 16th of June!
It’s a day we must all pay tribute to.
This is my small part!
untitd

 It’s a once off… it’s the last one …it’s open …it’s gonna be packed …it’s a double bill!
Sizwe with God
Date: June 16, 2012
Venue: space.com @ Joburg Theatre
(Braamfontein: former Civic Theatre) some people don’t know this

Price: R0.00 (donations allowed at the door)
Time: doors close at 4:30pm

Featuring: J.BOBS and J.BHOBOZA as the hosts of this event

The Wits Writer’s Club – The third session

writing centre logo1

Focus – writing process as a metaphor!

Everyone is requested to think about their writing process. How would you define that process? When you say that you are waiting for a ‘spark’ to ignite the creative juices, do you know what that spark is? How it looks like? Feel like? Taste like? What do you wait for or to understand first before you can unleash your ink on the page? Is it an image of a character? A specific setting? A line? A face?

 Whatever it is, do you understand why it is so important to your writing? To your process? Do you want to understand it? Do you want to control it? Take charge? Or at least make an attempt? If yes, I’d like you to think of a metaphor that would explain the process. How does the metaphor capture the different stages of your writing? How would it communicate that process to someone? Can you give a parallel analysis of how the metaphor not only mirrors but gives a detailed breakdown description of the process? This information should enable me to follow step-by-step instruction of how you work. Is this possible? How detailed can you be? How much can you unlock? I.e. Someone once told me that their writing process is like a kite (metaphor). When they begin a new writing they envision the process to be like building a kite. First you need material; plastic, sticks, string, pins, etc. These in their writing process mirrors research. For instance, you need your grounding data or evidence – sticks hold or provide the basic structure for a kite. So they will look for them first to build the skeleton of a kite. In their writing, this could mean key grounding literature. If you are writing a book about Zombies, what are the basic elements which you must adhere to or establish for your story to hold? Etc… One can go on to explain how the metaphor reveals how and where the writer places themselves in their writing and defines a sense of direction.

If you’ve never did this before, take the challenge and you will see it will start to show you, at the very least, how well you understand or have taken some things for granted in your writing. This process might be spontaneous and mysterious for many but within that there is great room for a writer to understand the workings behind it. Try new things, learn how to stimulate yourself and your writing. We might not have figured out the secret to teach writing but we know how to enable the process. So take a chance. Write a metaphor you think would best explain your process and post it here. You might be amazed at something small you discover about your writing.

Is this important?
Well, you decide.
Date: 4 March 2013 (5 – 8pm)
At The Wits Writing Centre
See the link below for more info:

The Man In The Green Jacket

When everything else goes wrong, hope is the only thing left to count on. Set against the backdrop of a labour unrest in the middle of nowhere, this play delves into the small life of a miner who lives on the edge of obscurity with a father who has lost all hope. A son, Oupa Ledwaba, has to defy his father in order to fight for a better life for his children.

How far will you go to keep your hopes alive?
“For its often refreshing originality, its successful subtleties of theme and character and its determination to provoke discussion rather than violence; I think The Man in the Green Jacket is a must see play” Maurice Posniak
Catch the premier of this new play at the Hillbrow Theatre.
For more info, see the link below: