Paradox of Life, produced by the Mmabana Arts, Culture and Sports Foundation – Mahikeng in collaboration with the Tin Town Theatre (NPC) joins a long list of theatrical productions which aim to bring focus to the alarming gender-based violence scourge plaguing South African society.
The protagonist of the story is a 13-year-old girl who was physically and sexually assaulted by two men and who struggles to put her life back together which ultimately her relationships as the horror of that experience forever alters the trajectory of her life. Paradox of Life utilises various elements and movements from modern contemporary dance forms to narrate parts of the story but largely relies on the more conventional theatrical forms of storytelling such as dialogue.
The production is another tragic, yet all-too-common lived reality experienced daily by thousands of young girls and women at the hands of men in South Africa. It portrays how victims, their friends and families struggle to make sense of what has happened as they navigate life post the gender-based violence they have experienced.
The combination of experienced and upcoming actors such as Zenzo Ngqobe, one of the best actors to emerge from Mmabana Arts, Culture and Sports Foundation – Mahikeng and who is popularly known by his character name “Stone Khuse” from the hit television series Rhythm City and Tshepiso Madikoane is an excellent choice as they both bring expertly bring this story to life through how they relate throughout. The production’s decision to utilise the talents of young dancers from the Mmabana Arts, Culture and Sports Foundation – Mahikeng is refreshing as not only do they get to perform in a professional piece but it also gives them work at a time when many actors and dancers have barely had any shows booked due to Covid-19 restrictions. Their well-curated dance movements choreographed by Lesedi Mogomotso adds another layer to an already heavy story and to some degree brings some much-needed moments of reflection for the audience as they watch these ghastly events unfold.
Paradox of Life was directed by Khumoitsile Motsikoe, a founding member of Badiragatsi Theatre Productions who for a number of years has been based at the Mmabana Mahikeng Centre Drama Unit as a Drama Tutor. Khumoitsile Motsokoe also appeared in a number of productions such as Taxi Taxation, Maru, The Verdict, Dintshontsho tsa Lorato, Masaikategang a Magodimo and Black Age as an actor. Her other directing credits include Dintshontsho tsabo Julius Sekara, Dintshontsho tsa Lorato, Matlhoko Mathoko, Nothing But The Truth, Sophiatown, Julius Caesar, Othello, 31 Days and The Dream which won her second place at the Zwakala Theatre Festival in 2011.
Paradox of Life was written by Thuto Gaasenwe, a graduate of AFDA who made her mark as a poet and starred in the brilliant one-hander The Daddies of Sugar which was written and directed by Jefferson Tshabalala. Thuto Gaasenwe is also co-founder of an award-winning all black woman theatre company called Intsusa.
Paradox of Life was directed by Khumoitsile Motsikoe, written by Thuto Gaasenwe, choreographed by Lesedi Mogomotso and featured Zenzo Ngqobe, Tshepiso Madikoane, Motlalepula Bogatsu, Onkabetse Molebatsi, Tshepiso Khumalo, Ntombi Seleho, Khumo Kobetseng, Goitseone Malope, Aobakwe Kadima, Regomoditswe Molema, Kearabetswe Lophaleng and Mmathapelo Moagi. It was on at the Tin Town Theatre in Johannesburg from 10 April – 11 April 2021.