The Market Theatre Foundation has appointed Keituletse “Keitu” Gwangwa, daughter of legendary SA jazz musician Jonas Gwangwa and social activist, Violet Gwangwa, as the head of the Windybrow Arts Centre.
No stranger to the Windybrow Arts Centre, Keitu has fond memories of the space, “I did my final year exam at the Windybrow, so I have a special place in my heart for the theatre. I have attended a few productions in the times it was active and even enjoyed a sit-in rehearsal with Danny Glover”, she says recollecting her memories of the Windybrow Theatre.
Keitu Gwangwa has garnered national and international experience as an artist, skilled arts administrator, arts advocate, and events manager. She has worked as an assistant director to her father and French director Sophie Loucachevsky. Keitu honed her skills at the arts administration organization, Cultural Helpdesk, managing a Dutch/South African arts exchange website while simultaneously working as a Producer/ Director with 2004 Standard Bank Young Artist for Dance, Portia Mashigo and choreographer Gladys Agulhas with projects which headlined at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown, Wits 969 Festival and Dance Umbrella.
“Keitu brings an extensive range of experience, a deep passion for the arts and a visionary outlook on how the Windybrow Arts Centre can contribute to growing a strengthened arts industry and a vibrant cultural sector”, says Ismail Mahomed, the Chief Executive Officer of the Market Theatre Foundation. “Keitu has the skills, experience, stamina and fortitude to lead the Windybrow Arts Centre and to build it to the same high artistic standards as the Market Theatre Foundation’s three other divisions, the Market Theatre, Market Theatre Laboratory and Market Photo Workshop”, he added.
As the head of the Windybrow Arts Centre and with its specific focus on Pan-African cultural expression, Keitu, also a qualified sangoma, will draw from two organisations which she has lead previously. ‘Ndebi Creations’ and ‘African Zazi’ both focussed on celebrating African culture and heritage.
“I am excited about all the treasures we will uncover, expose, and engage with, but mostly I am looking forward to learning and being part of shaping the face and function of such a precious heritage institute,” says Keitu. “I hope we will be able to create a vibrant platform for exchange and artistic works that will add value to the ever-expanding subject of Pan-Africanism”, she adds.
The Windybrow Arts Centre has been given a new lease on life. As a division of the Market Theatre Foundation since 1 April 2016, the once-mothballed theatre has been refurbished and now proudly brands itself with the tagline “More than just a theatre” to reflect the changing nature of the space. The bustling Centre is home to the Exclusive Books Pan-African Reading Room and to a partnership with the International Library for African Music. A dance programme is presented at the Centre in partnership with local dance organisations. The Centre is also the base for the newly-launched Windybrow Drama Company comprised of alumni from the Market Theatre Laboratory.
“The 121-year old Windybrow heritage house stands for me like a classic lady who has many tales on passed times and has with her still so many more to tell. I’m looking forward to the prospects”, says Keitu.
Keitu joins administrator Nomalanga Nkosi in taking the Windybrow Arts Centre on its new journey.