Wealth of speakers at GIPCA

Gipca Masande Ntshanga by photographer Simiato

Masande Ntshanga. Photo: Simiato

As part of its Great Texts/Big Questions lecture series, the Gordon Institute for Performing and Creative Arts (GIPCA) will present a range of local and international speakers in the month of March – including novelists, choreographers, theatre-makers and academics.

The series launched on Tuesday, March 15 with South African novelist and award-wining short story writer, Masande Ntshanga, who presented a lecture entitled Iron Galaxy.

Looking at his first novel, The Reactive, and using Dambudzo Marechera’s assertion that “the lives of small men are like spider’s webs…studded with minute skeletons of greatness”, Ntshanga discussed fiction’s ability to not only free South Africa’s marginalised spaces from being defined within the perimeters of pathology, but also how these spaces can be transformed into sites of education and transcendence.

On Thursday, March 17, Indian actor, director, writer and activist, Maya Krishna Rao will deliver a lecture that will examine the multiplicity of forms that have evolved in the theatre to adequately capture the complexities of contemporary India.

University of Cape Town academic and award-winning director, Mark Fleishman and theatre legend  Jennie Reznek, will jointly present a lecture on Reznek’s text I Turned Away And She Was Gone on Tuesday, March 22.

Written and performed by Reznek, I Turned Away And She Was Gone reworks the Demeter and Persephone story that reviews the relationships between three incarnations of women – a mother, a daughter and grandmother – and the passage of past, present and future selves. I caught this production at the Hilton Arts Festival last year and was blown away.

The March Great Texts series comes to a close on Thursday, March 24 with a lecture by renowned writer and academic, Jonny Steinberg – Why is Murder not a Crime in South Africa? An answer to an uncomfortable question asked in Hargeisa, Somaliland.

On a recent trip to the area, two young medical students cornered and interrogated Steinberg, in hostile fashion, over the course of a day. “Your country has the strongest state on the continent,” they said. “Why does it allow its citizens to kill Somalis as if murder is not a crime?” This talk is an answer to their question.

All Great Texts lectures take place from 5.30 pm to 7 pm at Hiddingh Hall, UCT Hiddingh Campus, 31 – 37 Orange Street, Cape Town. Refreshments will be served from5 pm. No booking is necessary and all are welcome.

For more information go to www.gipca.uct.ac.za

About the speakers

Masande Ntshanga is the Caine Prize-nominated winner of the 2013 PEN International New Voices Award. He graduated with a degree in Film and Media and an Honours degree in English Studies from UCT, where he became a creative writing fellow, completing his Masters in Creative Writing under the Mellon Mays Foundation. He received a Fulbright Award and an NRF Freestanding Masters scholarship. His stories have appeared in Laugh It Off, itch, Imago and Habitat. He has also written for Rolling Stone magazine. The Reactive, his first novel, was nominated for the Etisalat Prize for Fiction and shortlised for The Sunday Times fiction prize.

Maya Krishna Rao

Maya Krishna Rao is widely recognised as an innovative, and vastly talented creator of theatre. She has been featured in Women Who Dared, a book on twenty notable Indian women of the last fifty years, published by the National Book Trust, and is currently professor of theatre at Shiv Nadar University, India. Rao is well known for her acclaimed solo performance piece, Walk – a 35-minute monologue devised in response to the gang rape and murder of Jyoti Singh in Delhi in December 2012.


Mark Fleishman is a professor in the drama department at UCT and co-artistic director of Magnet Theatre. He has won the Fleur du Cap Award for directing, as well as the FNB Vita Awards for directing and choreography, and is an internationally respected theatre-maker and academic. Fleishman teaches across a range of theoretical and practical courses; his research areas include physical theatre, interactive dramaturgy, site-specific community-based performance and technology and live performance.


Jennie Reznek is a graduate of UCT’s Drama School and studied in Paris with Jacques Lecoq from 1984 to 1986. She is a director of Magnet Theatre and has lectured in movement at UCT. Reznek has worked as an aerialist and clown in the circus, a movement director and choreographer, and a puppeteer with the Handspring Puppet Company. I Turned Away And She Was Gone is Reznek’s first one-woman show in more than two decades, and reunites the stellar core creative Magnet Theatre team of director Mark Fleishman; designer Craig Leo; choreographer Ina Wichterich and original music by Neo Muyanga.


Jonny Steinberg teaches African Studies at Oxford University and is a visiting Professor at the Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research (WiSER). Much of Steinberg’s work explores South African people and institutions – the prison, the farm, the police, the clinic – in the wake of the transition to democracy. His books include Midlands, The Number, and Three-Letter Plague. His latest book, A Man of Good Hope was published in 2015. Steinberg has twice won South Africa’s most prestigious literary prize, The Sunday Times Alan Paton Award and was an inaugural winner of the Windham Campbell Literature Prize awarded by Yale University.

About GIPCA: The Gordon Institute for Performing and Creative Arts (GIPCA) is an interdisciplinary institute in the University of Cape Town’s Humanities Faculty. It facilitates new collaborative research projects, particularly in the creative and performing Arts. GIPCA was launched in December 2008 with a grant from the Donald Gordon Foundation, and continues its work as a result of a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

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