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The Cry Of Winnie Mandela

The Cry Of Winnie Mandela is a compelling journey through history, emotion, and the enduring strength of the female South African spirit.

Based on the popular novel by poet, novelist, and essayist Njabulo Ndebele, The Cry of Winnie Mandela is a poignant theatrical production brought to life by The Market Theatre. This thoughtful new play of resilience is adapted by Alex Burger and directed by the award-winning MoMo Matsunyane who is the current Standard Bank Young Artist Winner for Theatre.

Through the imagination of a literary professor, the action centres on the stories of four women who reflect on a period of waiting during the absence of their men. Between intense emotional moments and cleverly injected humour, the dynamic theatrical adaptation weaves together their private accounts, exposing the shadows, isolation, and complexities of their evocative experiences. A series of intimate and powerful conversations unfold as the characters reveal the profound impact of this period of their life, delving into the depths of their longing and uncertainty as they forge their stories to that of the life and times of Winnie Mandela.

The universal theme of waiting is a central motif, allowing the audience to reflect on the historical struggles of women while drawing parallels to their own contemporary lives.

You are invited to join these resilient women as they gather, share their stories, sing, and metaphorically drink their “tea” – a potent blend of strength and vulnerability.

Don’t miss this powerful exploration of love, resilience, courage, and the indomitable spirit of women.

A cast of six with five females and one male:

1.     Rami Chuene

2.     Ayanda Sibisi

3.     Nambitha Mpumlwana

4.     Siyasanga Papu

5.     Pulane Rampoana

6.     Les Nkosi

Creative Team:

  1. Set & LX Designer: Wilhelm Disbergen
  2. Costume Designer: Onthatile Matshidiso
  3. Sound & AV Designer: Vangile Mpumlwana

Creative Team

Creative Team
Alex Burger

Alex Burger is an award-winning author, screenwriter, and playwright.

His plays include: The Crusaders (Oxford University, in progress) Fees Must Fall (Wits University, 2016), The Inkanyamba (Market Theatre Lab, 2015) and Whose Blood (The Old Operating Theatre London, 2012) which played to a fully sold-out run. His TV credits include head-writing Die Testament One & Two South Africa’s first TV show written for mobile viewing (Netwerk24, 2022 & 2019), Seasons 3 and 4 of the SAFTA-winning TV series Umlilo (eTv 2015-2016), Doubt (Mzansi Magic 2016), and Hard Copy Season 4 (SABC3 2016). He is currently developing multiple TV projects including co-writing a feminist TV series Here She Comes (Infinite Eyes Films), co-developing an African-American satirical series The Campaign (Mundo Loco Films), and writing a Scooby Doo investigation of systemic racism Reparation City.

In his other life, Alex has served as a senior advisor to the World Bank for over twenty years working in thirty-four countries and served as the Vice President of Community Affairs for AngloGold Ashanti – Africa’s largest Mining company (2011-2013). Alex holds an MBA from INSEAD and a BA magna cum laude from Harvard University in the Comparative Study of Religion.

Creative Team
Kgomotso ‘MoMo’ Matsunyane

Kgomotso ‘MoMo’ Matsunyane (b. 1988) is an actor, playwright, director and singer.

MoMo has been a professional actor since 2004 after making her television debut on Thetha Msawawa 2. She obtained an Honours Degree in Dramatic Arts from Wits University in 2012, majoring in Performance as well as Film and Television. She has performed in numerous plays, films and television shows over her 19 year long career and has been nominated for and won several awards including: The Standard Bank Young Artist Award for Theatre in 2023, Hlakanyana The Musical, which won a whopping 8 out of the 14 awards at the 2023 Naledi Theatre Awards. She was also Head Writer for this very musical.

Matsunyane also won for Best Supporting Actress in a Musical for her role as Mawethu along with Best Ensemble and Best Production of a Musical. Other achievements include; Best Actress in A Leading Role and Best Breakthrough Performer nominee (Have You Seen Zandile? ;Naledi Theatre Awards 2014), Best Supporting Actress winner (Ankobia ; SA Theatre Magazine Awards 2017), Best Ensemble winner (Animal Farm; Naledi Theatre Awards 2015), Best Supporting Role nominee (Tsotsi The Musical; Fleur Du Cap Awards 2018) and Best Fringe Productions nominee (Unlearn and Dick Or Date?; Naledi Theatre Awards 2019)

Earlier in 2023, she acted in a new sketch comedy show called Republic Of South Ah directed by Kagiso Lediga and it is currently on popular streaming network Netflix. In June she co-directed Their Silence Left Us Nothing But Tokens in France, Lyon as part of a collaboration between the Market Theatre Laboratory and ENSATT. In the previous year Matsunyane was also festival director of the acclaimed Zwakala Festival and following its success, went on to mentor the director of the winning group as the show took to the stage in October 2023.

In 2022 she also performed in If A Tree Falls which was also directed by acclaimed director Janice Honeyman. In 2020, she performed in Switzerland in Converting Eviction a collaboration between Ntsoana Contemporary Dance Theatre and KMUProduktionen. In 2021 she was cast in Standard Bank Young Artist Award Winner for Dance, Lulu Mlangeni’s NAF production Kganya which made its live debut at the internationally acclaimed festival Afrovibes in 2022 and also enjoyed a run at The State Theatre in July 2023. Matsunyane hopes to grow her production company which has created a platform for her to independently write, produce and star in her own shows as she navigates this often challenging but equally rewarding industry.

Creative Team
Wilhelm Disbergen

Wilhelm Disbergen is a prolific theatre designer who regularly works in all major theatres in South Africa. He is a multiple winner at the annual Naledi Theatre Awards, and has also received a Fleur du Cap award for lighting design.

For theatre, his collaboration with State Theatre’s Artistic Director Aubrey Sekhabi started with Silent Voice, followed by Sekhabi’s three seminal freedom plays – Mantolo: The Tenth Step, Kalushi: The Story of Solomon Mahlangu, and The Rivonia Trial. This was followed by three epoch making musicals – Hungry (a co-production with the SchauSpielHaus Hamburg), and the epoch making Marikana – The Musical, and Freedom The Musical.

Recent work in theatre include Eugène Ionesco’s The Lesson (dir Greg Homan) at the Market Theatre, an immersive production of Ariane Mnouchkine and Théâtre du Soleil’s 1789 (dir Phyllis Klotz and Smal Ndaba) at the Sibikwa Arts Centre, and Napo Mashenane’s ground-breaking musical Thaba Bosiu at PACOFS.

In 2018, he designed Jessica Nupen’s Don’t Trust the Border for Kampnagel, Hamburg. This was followed in the same venue by The Nose, a film/live performance hybrid (2021), and GEMeinsam (2022).

He lit 21 seasons for the Cape Town City Ballet. A highlight was lighting and staging Olivier award winning Muthuthuzeli November’s Ingoma (2021). For Joburg Ballet, he designed Big City, Big Dreams, Whispers of My Soul (chor Redha), and The Nutcracker (chor Angela Malan), last performed at the end of 2023 at the Teatro at Montecasino and The Playhouse in Durban.

At the National Arts Festival, he designed new works for three Standard Bank Young Artists – Moffie for Bailey Snyman (2012), Sabela for Thandezile Sonja Radebe (2017), and Purgatory for Kristi-Leigh Gresse (2022). At the 2018 festival, he designed Black Privilege for Nyamza, the featured artist of the festival. He teamed up again with Snyman for Gas Lands (2019), and Nyamza for Pest Control (2020) and Hatched Ensemble (2023).

Creative Team
Onthatile Matshidiso

Onthatile Matshidiso is production designer and arts educator with 12 years’ experience in using clothes to tell stories. Born in Tlhabane, Rustenburg and now based in Johannesburg, Onthatile grew up in a community that valued the arts in childhood development.  In her household, Onthatile was inspired by her mother who saw the value of a carefully selected wardrobe as a tool of self-expression. Her father taught her meticulous precision in technical drawing.

Onthatile drew inspiration for fashion illustration from fashion spreads in publications such as Elle and True Love Magazine.

Onthatile is a Wits School of Arts graduate with majors in Production Design and Writing. In 2015, she was nominated for a Naledi Award in Costume award, for Matsemela Manaka’s Egoli. Onthatile has served as production design lecturer for The Wits School of Arts’ and for the Market Theatre Laboratory.

Recent credits in costume design include: The Terrified Talabalushi, The Lesson, Tata Etla Gae, and Nina Simone- 4 Women.

A cast of six with five females and one male

Rami Chuene

Rami is one of the leading actresses in South Africa, with 25 years of onscreen storytelling. She is most well-known for her roles in popular local soapies, The Queen, Muvhango, Scandal!, 7de Laan and Backstage. Rami is currently in the popular series, Giyani: Land Of Blood. Some of the TV dramas she has been in include, Inkaba, Harvest, The Republic, Abomzala, It’s Complicated, Justice For All, BET’s daily drama, ISONO, and British/American series, Strike Back. Her roles in movies include Life Above All and Hijack Stories. She appeared in the Netflix Original series, How To Ruin Christmas: The Wedding and its sequels, How To Ruin Christmas: The Funeral and How To Ruin Christmas: The Babyshower.

Rami is also a singer and recording artist, her album From Fear To Love was released in 2014. She is a published author and her memoir, We Kissed The Sun And Embraced The Moon, was published in 2015. She has recently translated veteran author, Professor Es’kia Mphahlele’s novel, Father Come Home, into her native language, Sepedi. In addition to being an actress, singer and author, Rami is a sought after speaker, voice-over artist and MC who has hosted many stage, corporate and TV shows and events. Rami is passionate about being a philanthropist and doing good through her foundation, Rami Chuene Foundation.

Ayanda Sibisi

Ayanda Sibisi was born and raised in KwaNdengezi, Durban. She obtained her National Diploma in Drama studies at the Durban University of Technology. She’s an actress, musician and the Development Executive Producer at Eyethu Films. In a nutshell, Ayanda is an all-around creative who is enthusiastic about arts and passionate about storytelling. Her tv roles include The Herd as MaMzobe the cynical witch, the hilarious romantic comedy “Hawema!” where she played the role of Lindi the go getter. She portrayed the role of Fikani’s mother on 7 de Laan and has had a handful of guest appearances on The Queen, Rockville and SABC1’s 13 Weeks to find Mr Right. She was a contestant on the highly competitive television show Top Actor.

As a theatre practitioner she has worked on various musicals. In 2011 she joined the cast of Cinderella at the Playhouse Theatre. She starred in the stage musical piece Beauty and the Beast as Madame De La Grande Bouche where she got nominated for the best newcomer at the Mercury Durban Theatre Awards. She played the king’s most trusted adviser Rafiki in the internationally acclaimed Lion King at the theatre of the wild in Disneyland, Hong Kong. In 2018 she took on the role of Church Lady Jarene in Alice Walker’s musical version of The Color Purple which received 13 nominations and won 7 of those awards at the Naledi awards in 2019. In 2022 she was nominated for best music video at the 15th Crown Gospel Awards for her hit gospel Amapiano song called Bayede which is currently on high rotation on several radio stations across the country. Her most recent musical production was Third World Express where she starred as the lead (The Queen).

Ayanda is currently putting final touches of her first studio album which will feature a massive storm of hits. There is no stopping this formidable talent and her time is NOW!!

Siyasanga Papu

Siyasanga is a multitalented actress and songstress who has been involved in productions in both theatre and film for over almost 20 years. In 2005 she was part of a production called NewTown. She went on to perform in Relativity: Township Story which played at multiple South African art festivals, later showcasing in Vienna (Austria), the Scotland Fringe and then touring 10

different cities in the UK .

Her other theatre work includes The Wizard of OZ, Jock of the Bushveld, and SATATOO. She played the lead in MARIKANA The Musical for which she got a Naledi Award nomination. She went to get yet another Naledi Award nomination in 2019 for Best Supporting Actress in a Musical for the show she did called Santa Clause is coming to town. In 2022 she joined the cast of the award-winning play called Xova where she played the lead role of Zukiswa. In 2017 she was invited by Dr. Jonas Gwangwa to sing a special rendition at ex-president Thabo Mbeki’s 75th birthday celebration. She did a Cape Town tour of the famous 50s musical called KING KONG The Musical.

She has been in Usindiso (2007), Rhythm City (2008-2009), AMANDLA, 8 MINUETS, 1606, while playing lead on some films for the small screen such as 10 Steps to Make Him Propose, Forget About It and Iizintombi Zodwa. She appeared as Mpumi, a journalist, on Generations The Legacy on SABC 1. Siyasanga was also in the TV series called THE HERD 1&2 broadcast on Mzanzi. She portrayed the role of Fezeka in Isibaya in 2018 and has just finished the 4-year run of Gomora where she portrayed Pretty Molefe – one of the lead characters for which she got a Royal Soapie Award nomination.

She currently has a 5 piece band called MOLO based in Pretoria.

Pulane Rampoana

Puli is a versatile artist with over 17 years of experience in the industry, excelling as an actor, singer, dancer, and vocal coach. She has graced international musical shows like Dreamgirls, Cabaret, and Rocky Horror, while making significant contributions to local productions such as The Hill, Mosali Eo U Nneileng Eena, Jock Of The Bushveld, and Reik Na Die Sterre.

Her musical journey includes noteworthy performances like Bidvest 2015 with Vicky Sampson and Swing City. Puli has shared the stage with acclaimed artists like Thandiswa Mazwai and Ernie Smith, showcasing her talent at Embassies around Pretoria for events attended by government delegates, ambassadors, and ministers. A highlight in her musical career was performing at an event attended by African Jazz legends Ntate Caiphus Semenya and Mama Letta Mbuli.

Beyond music, Puli actively engages in television and radio, contributing as a translator, producer, actor, and voiceover artist. Her recent television series, Lioness, remains available for viewing on DStv.

Nambitha Mpumlwana

Nambitha Mpumlwana is a South African actress best known for her leading roles in the television series Shado’sInterrogation Room and The Lab; and for her role in the Oscar-winning South African feature film Tsotsi.

She quickly established an acting and presenting career in South Africa starting as a continuity presenter for SABC television before joining the SABC 2 wildlife show 50/50 as a presenter.

Nambitha presented the SABC 2 shows Lebone and Practical Parenting, as well as the SABC 3 show Money. She has performed in the feature films Tama Ba? Tama Na! (1993}, Crazy Joe’s Coco,

Land of a Thousand HillsBeyond Borders (2003}, Country of My Skull (2004}, Red Dust (2004)

and Tsotsi (2005).

In October 2007 Nambitha won the Golden Horn award for Best Actress in a TV Drama at the second annual SAFTAs for her role as Pearl Lusipho in the SABC 3 drama series The Lab. She has also been nominated for a SAFTA Golden Horn for Best Actress in TV Soap for Generations (1993). In November, 2009 Nambitha returned to 7de Laan in her role as Zandile.

She has performed in numerous theatre productions, including The Dead WaitBlack Age, WhaleIn Search of Dragon’s Mountain, Love and Other Strange ThingsBeauty and the Beast of OracleApart, The Power of Harriett T, Business of Health, See Here! It’s Africa and The Caribbean.

Les Nkosi

Les Nkosi is a passionate creative-change-practitioner through arts therapies, research and facilitation as well as an entrepreneur. He holds a Master’s degree through Wits University. His experience in facilitation and behavior-change spans well over 20 years. Les spent most of his career in the arts playing roles of support, either as a producer, director or a friend of an artist.

Les is a recipient of Wits University’s Marshal Kander Award for Most Outstanding Research. He has forged relationships with the Wits Centre for Diversity Studies (WiCDS) in creating meaningful transformation processes in race relations and change.

His portfolio of work on screen incudes, playing varying roles of support in popular television including Scandal, Working On It, Stout, The River, Generations the Legacy, The Docket, Sokhulu and Partners, and Isibaya. His theatre work includes directing Come As you Are (CAYA) at the Soweto Theatre and

Jobe at the Joburg Theatre. The Cry of Winnie Mandela will be Les’ first stage role as an actor – he is exceptionally excited to be part of this production.