Sat | Apr 18, 2015

South African poet Motsei performs 'What about love?'

Published:Sunday | September 23, 2012
South African poet and author, Mmatshilo Motsei.

In commemoration of September as National Women's Month in South Africa, The South African High Commission in association with The Arts Foundation of Edna Manley College of Visual and Performing Arts jointly hosted a lyrical workshop entitled 'What About Love?'.

The event which took place on Thursday, September 6, at Edna Manley College Dance Studio Theatre, featured as its centrepiece renowned South African poet and author Mmatshilo Motsei.

Complemented by a string of talented musicians and an interpretive dance, Motsei presented a fusion of poetry, movement and storytelling with the heartbeat of drumming and the soulful sounds of the guitar and trumpet all blended synchronously to depict her story of love as a counter for separateness and violence.

The performance style used by Motsei developed an intimacy with her audience that not only blurs the lines between stage and audience but demolishes the metaphoric fourth wall. She recanted memories of happiness, such as the 55-year-long marriage of her two loving parents, and sadness, as she told of her personal experience of being raped at the age of six.

"What is your greatest fear? In other words, which prison have you locked yourself in?" Motsei asks her audience during her performance. She used a series of metaphors and intense imagery to provoke discussion among audience while describing the socio-political and environmental issues in South Africa.

By the end she had segued through three artistic interpretations of violence - violence against the self, violence against the other and violence against the environment.

She closed her profound set by reading passages from her book entitled Seeing Voices, Hearing Visions to the sounds of percussion and string as she danced her way from the stage to join her captivated audience.