The Market Theatre bids farewell to one of its longest-serving employees, Reuben Myanga, who served the institution for over four decades. Reuben Myanga has been part of The Market Theatre for the past four decades. He commenced employment shortly after the Market Theatre was officially opened for business on 18 July 1976.
“I started as a small boy from the townships and I really didn’t know what I was doing when I started working here,” he says.
Although Reuben was not certain that he would work at the Market Theatre for four decades, he grew an immense love for theatre. He was one of the first employees to work backstage.
Reuben Myanga worked closely with and was mentored by legendary theatre producer, Mannie Manim.
“Working with Mannie was a pleasure for me. Mannie is the person who encouraged me to become a permanent employee in this company,” he says with a warm smile.
Starting off in the production department, Reuben became the theatre’s messenger while simultaneously carrying out his responsibilities working backstage in productions with lighting designer Wesley France and Helen Joseph.
After taking a pause to reminisce about the good old days, Reuben talks about his move to the Finance Department of the Market Theatre Foundation where he spent the last 16 years.
“I found Reuben at the Market when I joined 16 years ago. It was clear from the start that he had his job well under control and knew very well what worked and whatnot. Reuben is the most consistent and diligent person that I have ever worked with. I never needed to check whether or not he has performed according to the agreed schedule. He just does!” says his manager the CFO, Christine McDonald.
McDonald says that Reuben is an auditor’s dream.
“He has consistently provided support documentation without fail. The Market Theatre Foundation has never had an audit finding regarding missing documentation and that is thanks to Reuben. He is a man of few words and solid performance. I will miss Reuben but am pleased that Reuben agreed to be available for relief work as and when the Market needs him,” adds Christine McDonald.
Although Reuben seemed quite emotional that he has reached retirement age; if it were up to him he would continue working.
“I don’t feel tired at all and I feel like my body can still carry me, but I have reached the age of retirement. If it were up to me, I would still carry on working for another year or two,” he says in a very soft voice.
Ntate Reuben, as he is affectionally called by colleagues, many that got to work alongside him and have learnt a great deal from him.
Reuben Myanga’s last day at the Market Theatre Foundation will be on 31 July 2019. With 42 years of commitment and dedication under his lengthy Market Theatre resume, Ntate Reuben is a very straight forward man. He is humble, honest but also firm. His work in the Finance Department was impeccable.
“I am very sad to leave but unfortunately, my time has come.”
“Reuben Myanga is an institution as old as the Market Theatre. His absolute professionalism amplifies the founding values of the Market Theatre Foundation,” said Market Theatre Foundation CEO, Ismail Mahomed.
Reuben says that he will definitely miss working at the Market Theatre Foundation but that he will still show up to come watch some of the productions because he will have a lot of time on his hands. One of his favourite shows at the Market Theatre was the world premiere of Sarafina.
“I saw the show almost every day because it was such a good show. In those days watching a show was free for staff members. There was no booking of tickets or filling out a request form for a complimentary ticket. If you were around the theatre, you were welcomed in to watch a show,” he says.
The Market Theatre Foundation’s accountant, Fazel Mayet, has worked with Reuben for several years.
“Reuben is extremely meticulous in his work and serious in his job. He knew exactly what he needed to do and always carried out his tasks with total efficiency. He has never given me any hard times. He always fulfilled his role and purpose,” said Fazel Mayet.
“I will miss him because he is a good person to work with, he has a lot of good qualities, honesty being one of the top qualities, especially in his position. I wish he hadn’t retired,’ said Fazel feeling slightly emotional.
Certainly, Ntate Reuben has made a great impact on his job. He will be dearly missed. The Market Theatre Foundation wishes him all the best in his retirement. We look forward to welcoming as a patron when he comes to watch shows at the Market Theatre.