It means I can have more confidence in what I do, that people I watching and are listening. It is truly a gift
Chuma Sopotela is an actress, dancer, puppeteer, performing artist, activist and educator. She obtained her Performer’s Diploma at the University of Cape Town, majoring in acting, movement and voice. Her breakout role was in Lara Foot’s Karoo Moose, for which she received the Fleur du cap Best Actress Award and the Naledi Best Newcomer Award for the lead role. ‘Lara was the first director to give me a shot on a professional stage,’ she says. ‘I was fresh out of university and she gave me a lead role. I will forever be grateful for her belief in me and all she has taught me, and continues to teach me still. She is forever giving and teaching. I would say that we are blessed to have directors and storytellers such as her.’
Sopotela has also won a Spier Contemporary award for Unyawo aluna mpumlo, which was created in collaboration with Mwenya Kabwe and Kemang Wa Lehulere. Some of her recent works include Neo Muyanga’s The Flower of Shembe, Lig by Jaco Bouwer, Exhibit A by Brett Bailey, Waiting for the Barbarians by Alexandre Marine, Being by Owen Manamela and Kabi Thulo and Those Ghels with Buhlebezwe Siwani. Her performance piece inkukhu Ibeke Iqanda was commissioned by the Zurich Theatre Spektakel, and Limathu-mbantaka and Ngokomzekeliso wakhe were commissioned by Artscape Theatre, Cape Town. One of her career highlights was performing for Nelson Mandela at his home eQunu for his 90th birthday.
I can finally say that I made it to be a Standard Bank Young Artist Award winner! It has been a dream of mine for a long time
‘I can finally say that I made it to be a Standard Bank Young Artist Award winner! It has been a dream of mine for a long time. I didn’t know it would happen, I hoped it would but I didn’t know how. I love my work and I love working on the body. For me, it is the basis of the conversation – what we see, how we are seen and how we want to be seen. Let us borrow each other’s glasses – sunglasses – because now the future is too bright! Everything is possible.
’Years ago, I spoke of being a master of a performance technique that I am working on. Now, people can see that I am working on something. I am not just acting and taking roles but I am working on the technique of performance from a more personal, identity-driven, spiritual approach. Looking at Africa as the base of performance and home of the performer and what this information of past and present inform the performer in his or her training, practice, preparation, performance and post. It means I can have more confidence in what I do, that people I watching and are listening. It is truly a gift.’
Meet all of the #SBYA2018 award winners:
Chuma Sopotela (Performance Art) The future is too bright!
Guy Buttery (Music) A national treasure
Igshaan Adams (Visual Art) Achieving the unachievable
Jemma Kahn (Theatre) ’The box lady’
Musa Hlatshwayo (Dance) A social agent of change
Thandi Ntuli (Jazz) A different level of operating