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The 2018 South African Women’s Arts Festival

The Playhouse Company, an Agency of the Department of Arts and Culture, presents its much-anticipated annual South African Women’s Arts Festival in Durban from 7 to 18 August 2018. This year marks the twenty-second anniversary of the South African Women’s Arts Festival (SAWAF).
     ‘To celebrate this momentous landmark, our South African Women’s Arts Festival (SAWAF) roster is jam-packed with frontline shows, featuring South Africa’s latest and greatest theatrical productions, performers, directors, writers and choreographers,’ says The Playhouse Company’s Chief Executive and Artistic Director, Linda Bukhosini. ‘In keeping with Women’s Month, SAWAF’s mix of dance, drama, music, dialogue, arts and craft, showcases the determination of South African women to find freedom, respect and equality within our society.’

Wathint’ abafazi, Wathint’ Imbokodo (You Strike a Woman, You Strike a Rock)

In August 1956, over 20 000 women of all races marched in unison to the Union Buildings in Pretoria protesting against unjust apartheid pass laws. The march led to significant advances towards the emancipation of women. The 1986 stage production, You Strike a Woman, You Strike a Rock, commemorated the thirtieth anniversary of that event. Now, more than six decades on, this fresh new retrospective, adapted and directed by Matjamela Motloung for the Playhouse Actors’ Studio, asks: how far have women’s rights progressed? And how much is still to be achieved? This gripping piece combines novel elements of fashion and photography with theatre.


This powerful new Playhouse Dance Residency vehicle, choreographed by Lulu Mlangeni, explores gender stereotyping, and its repercussions. By tapping into the energy of unlimited human imagination, these barriers can be swept aside, freeing up the human race to realise and rejoice in its full potential, to the benefit of all.

Tribute Concert

This year, the country also celebrates the centenary of one of the great daughters of the African soil, Mama Albertina Sisulu, who dedicated her life to fighting for the emancipation of women and the liberation of South Africa. Among those who fought relentlessly and played a significant role to attain the freedom we enjoy today was Mama Winnie Mandela. The Playhouse Company pays tribute to such icons under the theme ‘Be The Legacy’, with an extravagant concert starring Khanyo Maphumulo and Gloria Bosman, featuring The KZN Philharmonic Orchestra and the Playhouse Chorale.


2018 Standard Bank Young Artist for Dance Musa Hlatshwayo’s compelling new dance piece pays tribute to the women of KwaZulu-Natal who leave their homes to find work in the chaos of the city. Combining the use of video and slide projections with dance, the work unflinchingly evokes a captured journey of multifaceted moments that cast light on these women in their adopted workspace.

Confessions of a Blacklisted Woman: She Bellows

Written, directed and developed by Zimkitha Kumbaca, this intriguing presentation by Onalerona Collaborations incorporates music, poetry and dance into a satirical work that interrogates the representation of women in contemporary South African society: Are black woman at the bottom of the food chain? What is consent culture? Are African skin and hair being replaced with plastic?

Womb of Fire

This multi-award-winning one-hander exposes the effects of colonialism through the vivid use of allegory. Set against the episode of the India epic, Mahabharata, the play interweaves personal narrative and contemporary realities with the lives of two women from the founding years of the Cape Colony to interrogate the ‘womb of fire’ that birthed South Africa. Directed by Dr Sara Matchett, with design by Craig Leo, Womb of Fire is written and performed by Rehane Abrahams with vocal accompaniment by Lukhanyiso Skosana.


SAWAF also includes added attractions such as a guitar workshop; an arts and craft exhibition; a dialogue session, and free sundowner concerts.
     Bookings via Computicket outlets; telephonic bookings on 0861 915 8000; and online bookings at Alternatively, patrons can call the Playhouse Box Office on 031 369 9540 or 031 369 9596 (office hours). For school bookings, call 031 369 9407 or email

The Playhouse Company’s South African Women’s Arts Festival dates and ticket prices:
     Wathint’ abafazi, Wathint’ Imbokodo (You Strike a Woman, You Strike a Rock) | Dates: 7 – 11 August | Tickets: R80.
     Ndoni | Dates: 7 – 11 August | Tickets: R80.
     Scars | Dates: 8 – 11 August | Tickets: R30.
     Tribute Concert | Date: Saturday, 11 August | Tickets: R100 to R150.
     Confessions of a Blacklisted Woman: She Bellows | Dates: 15 to 18 August | Tickets: R80.
     Womb of Fire | Dates: 15 to 18 August | Tickets: R85.

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