Magnet Theatre’s powerful G7: Okwe-Bokhwe


Image result for Magnet TheatreMagnet Theatre’s powerful G7: Okwe-Bokhwe returns for a run in Cape Town and at the National Arts Festival, Makhanda.

The production is directed by Mandla Mbothwe and stars the talented graduates of the fifth Magnet Theatre training programme.

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G7: Okwe-Bokhwe (Like/Of a Goat) will be performed at the P4 Studio at Hiddingh Hall campus from 12 to 22 June, followed by a run on 27, 28 and 29 June as part of the Main Programme at the National Arts Festival, Makhanda.

This powerful production is based on the historical records of the Gugulethu Seven, seven young members of Umkhonto weSizwe (MK) who were ambushed and heartlessly killed by the South African security forces on the morning of 3 March 1986, during the anti-apartheid struggle years. The Gugulethu Seven memorial was built on the site of the ambush to commemorate the life and death of those activists.

G7: Okwe-Bokhwe was originally devised by Mbothwe with the fifth cohort of trainees on Magnet’s Full Time Training and Job Creation Programme 2017/2018 and performed at the Gugulethu Memorial site. The Magnet Theatre trainees now return as graduates and third year interns to perform the production for the 2019 tour.

The production is a powerful active memorial that attempts to engage with a process of healing the pain of our collective past. The production is also regenerative, allowing the wounds of our history to be exposed, validated, and attended to. Drawing on the powerful language of the body, song and ritual G7: Okwe-Bokhwe honours the Gugulethu Seven and celebrates the power of theatre’s ability to heal.

Image result for Mandla Mbothwe
Mandla Mbothwe

“What is memory, what does it do and what happens when the past meets the present? Our job as storytellers is to explore these questions and interrupt the sense that there is nothing we can do,” says director Mandla Mbothwe. “As with this production, breaking out the forcibly archived stories should be at the centre of the journey to becoming a more human-faced nation.”

Directed by Mandla Mbothwe, with Movement Direction by Jennie Reznek and assistant direction by Zukisani Nongogo, Design is by Linda Mandela Sejosingoe, Choreography by Mzo Gasa, Music by Babalwa Makwetu, Lighting Design by Themba Stewart with Text and Poetry created by the company and originally co-ordinated by Vuyokazi Ngemntu.

The cast features Magnet Theatre graduates: Abigail Mei, Carlo Daniels, Luxolo Mboso, Siyavuya Gqumehlo, Sivenathi Macibela, Sizwe Lubengu, Sityhilelo Makupula and Yvonne Msebenzi.

Magnet Theatre is one of South Africa’s best known independent physical theatre companies that has been operating in and outside of South Africa for the past 31 years. Aside from its professional work, the company runs multi-layered educational programmes that are aimed at the transformation of young people’s lives and the theatre industry as a whole. Magnet Theatre runs the only suite of bridging programs in theatre arts for unemployed youth in the Western Cape. In March 2019, Magnet was recognised by the provincial Western Cape Government with an award for outstanding contribution to Arts and Culture in the Drama category.

Magnet Theatre’s Full Time Training and Job Creation Programme provides the only theatre arts ‘trade school’ of its kind in the Western Cape. It is evidenced to provide marginalised youth with access to education and employment. Of the almost 100 participants since 2008, the programme has been instrumental in facilitating access for 31 first generation university attendees. Sixteen have graduated and 11 are still studying. Eighty per cent of the others have found employment in the profession, including various international tours. An incredible 98% of all graduates are either employed, self-employed or furthering their studies.

G7: Okwe-Bokhwe will be performed at the P4 Studio at Hiddingh Hall Campus in Orange Street, Gardens, from 12 -22 June. There will be a preview on 12 June at 19h30, and the show will run on 13, 14, 18, 19 and 20 June at 19h30. There will be matinees on 16, 21 and 22 June at 2pm. There will be no show on 15 and 17 June.

This will be followed by a run at the Rhodes Box Theatre at the National Arts Festival, Makhanda on 27 June at 19h00; on 28 June at 16h00 and 20h00; and on 29 June at 14h00.

Tickets for P4 Studio cost R80 and R50 for students. Bookings can be made at Webtickets

Tickets for the National Arts Festival run cost R80 with R75 concessions and can be booked at

Age advisory PG (not for young children)

The Magnet Theatre is generously supported by:

Rand Merchant Bank, Oppenheimer Memorial Trust, HCI Foundation, HCI Foundation Community Transport Support Programme, Western Cape Government Expanded Public Works Programme, Potjie Foundation, Ampersand Foundation, with support from the National Arts Festival.

To support Magnet’s Full Time Training and Job Creation Programme donate here

Or contact: e-mail or call 021 448 3436.

Notes to Editors

Full Time Training and Job Creation Programme

For further information about the Training Programme, visit

In 2008, after working for 7 years supporting various drama groups in Khayelitsha, Magnet Theatre initiated a sustained 2-year full time training programme, based in Cape Town.

The Full time Training and Job Creation Programme caters for youth who for one reason or another struggle to gain access to tertiary education. Some have educational disadvantages from their schooling and don’t make the University entrance grade. Others struggle with funding or with simply feeling out of place in the strange environment of a higher education institution.

The programme offers a carefully structured programme to 20 talented performers in each 2 year cycle. There are classes in play, imagination, physical theatre, voice, dance, singing, improvisation and play making. Training takes place Monday to Friday between 09h00 and 16h30. There are organised visits to the theatre to expose the groups to mainstream and community performance. They are placed in work shadow in various aspects of the theatre industry. The participants are encouraged to maintain their connection with their communities and with their groups. The programme was originally designed by Jennie Reznek, Mandla Mbothwe and Mark Fleishman, and the classes are taught by highly experienced theatre practitioners and teachers. As always with Magnet Theatre’s work the focus of the training is on the body as a universal language that can communicate across cultures and verbal language while understanding that the teaching of physical theatre is one of the responses to violence and the violated body. The programme focuses on the development of skills and on the ability to generate new work. Each trainee receives a ‘bursary’ (stipend) to ensure that they have transport and food to attend the training.

Magnet’s goal, where possible, is to bridge the divide between the community and tertiary educational institutions. Where this is not possible, it is to provide skills, expertise and a sense of direction to talented marginalised young people so that they might become employable in the creative industries. The broad intention is of transforming the theatre industry from one that is white dominated to one that is more inclusive.

Currently Magnet is recruiting for the sixth cohort of trainees who will begin their training at the start of 2020.

From their youth development programmes, Magnet has been instrumental in facilitating access for 31 first generation university attendees. 16 have graduated and 11 are still studying. 80% of the others have found employment in the profession. During 2017, 15 graduates were employed at Magnet Theatre in various capacities and lengths of contract as teachers, facilitators, technical staff, actors and directors. 48 new productions have been created by the graduates. These are new South African productions dealing with issues that give a voice to their own lives and the lives of their communities. They have been performed in venues ranging from community halls in Cape Town townships and Sophiatown in Johannesburg, to the Baxter Theatre Zabalaza Festival, Magnet Theatre, Zwakala mini festival in Johannesburg, the Soweto Theatre, Theatre Arts Admin in Cape Town, Grahamstown Fringe Festival and Cape Town Fringe and Masque Theatre.

– 4 registered NPO’s have been created: Africa Jam (involving 1 graduate), Rainbow Arts (involving 2 graduates), Sophumelelo (involving 1 graduate), and UKAO (involving 7 graduates) In 2017 a further 3 entities were registered: Thembisa Ratanga (involving 1 graduate), Afro Theatre (involving 1 graduate) and Magenge Productions (involving 1 graduate) 1 NPO in Clanwilliam (COMNET) has been registered involving long term participants of the annual Clanwilliam Lantern Festival. 1 trust has been established: Imbewu Trust (involving 3 graduates) 1 closed corporation: Lingua Franco (involving 2 graduates) 1 ex- trainee is also involved in their own music acapella group, Muziek Sensation, performing, recording their work and selling their own CD’s.

– 5 youth who have grown up in the Clanwilliam arts project are now giving back through COMNET, running workshops, performing and teaching in Clanwilliam. One is permanently employed as an Arts & Culture Teacher in a primary school in the region as a result of the training in the Clanwilliam Arts Project; two others are employed by the Western Cape Expanded Public Works Programme to roll out arts workshops in the area.

– Graduates are now touring independently with their own product and offering short-term employment contracts to their peers.

– Graduates have been employed to perform in productions that have toured internationally to Germany, Italy, USA, UK, Sweden, Dubai, Hong Kong and Reunion Island.

– 4 works that were created during the training programme for Early Years audiences have had international success and provided ongoing employment for their directors and cast members: Aha! has toured to Germany; Paired will follow this year. Sandscapes and Woodways are performing in Africa and on the international Early Years Theatre Festival circuit in Europe.

Magnet also has a theatre making mentoring programme attached to the Full Time Training and Job Creation Programme. So far they have mentored 4 theatre makers: Lwanda Sindaphi (Magnet Theatre graduate), Nwabisa Plaatjie (UCT graduate), Siphenati Mayekiso (Magnet Theatre graduate), Sivuyile Dunjwa (Magnet Theatre graduate) and one designer: Asiphe Lili ( Magnet Theatre graduate). They have received mentoring in enterprise development, proposal writing, fundraising, teaching as well as and developing new works over the course of the year’s internship.

Magnet Theatre

Magnet Theatre is one of South Africa’s best known independent physical theatre companies that has been operating in and outside of South Africa for the past 31 years. In addition to creating 39 original, award-winning productions, Magnet runs multi-layered educational programmes that are aimed at the transformation of young people’s lives and the theatre industry as a whole.

Magnet Theatre also runs the only suite of bridging programmes in theatre arts for unemployed youth in the Western Cape. Magnet Theatre is a registered Nonprofit Organisation and is an Opco of 2 Trusts: The Magnet Theatre Educational Trust and Magnet Training and Youth Upliftment Trust (with 18A status). Magnet has 3 Artistic directors: Professor Mark Fleishman BA, Perf. Dip. (Speech & Drama) MA (UCT) PhD (UCT) Mandla Mbothwe BA (Hons) Perf. Dip. (Speech & Drama) (UCT) MA Theatre Making (UCT) Jennie Reznek BA, Perf. Dip. (Speech & Drama) (UCT), Diploma Ecole Jacques Lecoq (Paris, France), MA (UCT)

In 1998 Magnet registered as an Educational Trust and formalised their training into multi-layered arts educational processes aimed at developing and transforming marginalised youth and impacting on the transformation of the theatre industry itself. They run:

* a two year Full Time Training and Job Creation program for talented unemployed township youth, bridging the gap between the communities and tertiary institutions of education and the theatre profession as a whole;

*a Culture Gangs project with approximately two hundred school going youth, meaningfully engaging with young people, imparting skills and encouraging a commitment to culture and not to crime; and

*a rural arts program for approximately one thousand children in the remote Cederberg municipality.

In 2013, Magnet created the popular and award-winning TREE/BOOM/UMTHI for three to seven year olds which has performed all over Cape Town and internationally, gaining acclaim and critical success in Italy and Germany. TREE/BOOM/UMTHI won the Dassie 2014 Award for Best Children’s production and has tours planned to Germany, the Brooklyn Academy of Music in New York and Ireland.

This follows Magnet’s internationally successful Every Year, Every Day I Am Walking for teenagers that has toured to 17 countries in 28 international tours. Magnet Theatre was also nominated by ASSITEJ for the 2014 ASSITEJ Award for Artistic Excellence in Theatre for Children and Youth and received a 4th Honourable Mention (out of 35 companies) for ‘the original style of their work and the wide range of activity from professional theatre to theatre with youngsters’.

In 2015, Magnet Theatre created the Early Years Theatre Company with support from a 2015 National Arts Council Flagship grant with input from ASSITEJ South Africa, Goethe-Institut, and SA-UK Seasons 2014&2015. The Magnet Early Years Theatre Company aimed to challenge the dominant canon of theatre for children that is created and presented in South Africa (largely influenced by European and American story- telling) and create indigenous, unique and age appropriate South African Theatre for Early Years audiences.

A small, youth company, it was charged with developing three new performance pieces for the 0 – 7 age group. The three pieces toured to crèches, childcare centres and schools in Cape Town townships and rural areas of the Northern Cape and Cederberg municipality as well as a run at Magnet Theatre. The company was responsible for creating a South African first: SCOOP: Kitchen Play for Mom’s and Babes was the first ever South African play for mom’s and babies under the age of 12 months old.

The Company is comprised of five young theatre makers who have received extensive training in the field of Early Childhood Development Theatre: Koleka Putuma, Jason Jacobs, Indalo Stofile, Nolufefe Ntshuntshe and Sivuyile Dunjwa.

International travel

Magnet Theatre has created employment opportunities for young actors to travel and perform internationally with product that has been created as part of their training. These young people have never before had the opportunity to travel outside of the Western Cape. These tours have had a powerful impact on their income generation possibilities, providing role modelling and raising status in their communities. The experience has often been life changing. Tree/Boom/Umthi provided employment and international travel for 4 actors performing in NYC, Italy, Germany and the UK, as well as extensively in Cape Town and the Western Cape. Ekhaya and Knock! have also performed extensively in South Africa (employment for a young company of 5 township actors). Ekhaya has performed in Italy, Reunion and France. Knock! and SCOOP recently traveled to New York and Toronto. Paired and AHA! were created during the Early Year Incubation at Magnet Theatre and now are managed and travel independently providing employment and international visibility to 8 young performers. The shows have travelled to Germany, France and China.


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