Double Accolade for UKZN at JOMBA!

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Left: Mr JC Zondi (in red) performs his award-winning work Intimate at the JOMBA! FRINGE and right: Winner of this year’s JOMBA! Eric Shabalala Dance Champion Award, Mr Sifiso “Magesh” Ngcobo with Ms Lliane Loots.

Masters in Drama and Performance Studies student Mr JC Zondi received the inaugural JOMBA! Pick of the Fringe award at this year’s JOMBA! Contemporary Dance Experience. The award is given to an innovative choreographer from the Fringe in an endeavour to further encourage choreographers to create new work.

The curated JOMBA! FRINGE features around 10 to 12 new short works each year while also recognising the excellent work of independent artists and companies.

Zondi’s piece was titled Intimate and featured videography combined with a live performance. He described his work as ‘an invitation and exploration into the deep personal space of the dancers’ intimate bodies and how we look at each other.’

‘For me JOMBA! FRINGE has always been a platform where I could showcase the beautiful students/dancers who I work with, and relay some message to the world of art,’ said a delighted Zondi. ‘Receiving the award was a great surprise and a reminder as to why I do what I do, and an incentive to keep creating.’

Zondi has now been invited to the 2018 JOMBA! KZN ON THE EDGE platform to premiere new fuller length work that will be financially and technically supported by JOMBA!

Meanwhile UKZN alumnus Mr Sifiso “Magesh” Ngcobo, received the JOMBA! Eric Shabalala Dance Champion Award during the Festival.

The award honours the memory of Eric Mshengu Shabalala who tragically passed away in 2011. He was a local dancer, choreographer, teacher and one of the founding dancers of the Siwela Sonke Dance Theatre in Durban. The award therefore honours some of KwaZulu-Natal’s stalwart dancers and dance teachers.

Ngcobo, who currently teaches dance and isiZulu at St Nicholas Diocesan School in Pietermaritzburg, also runs a scholar dance company within the school called St Nics Dance Company.

He was born in Umthwalume, and has a degree in Drama and Performance Studies and an Honours degree in Community Development from UKZN.

Before joining Flatfoot Dance Company in 2003, he performed and toured the world as part of the celebrated dance show African Footprint.  As one of Flatfoot’s founding members he was instrumental in their now 15 year history of dance education and community engagement.

‘This award is given primarily for the work he is doing and the community project in Imbali Township at Sukuma Comprehensive School,’ said UKZN Dance Lecturer Ms Lliane Loots. ‘He works with young school going learners and in a dance programme called the Umsunduzi Youth Development Project and uses both drama and dance to address social, economic issues, life orientation as well as community child and gender abuse.’

Ngcobo said he was excited to receive the award. ‘I have been doing this kind of work for a very long time and it is good to be finally recognised. We work without funding and support from the government but the passion and fire within us keeps us going because our goal is to make an impact in different communities and to give hope to the hopeless through dance.

‘The projects I run in Pietermaritzburg have made a significant impact in the learners’ lives and that makes me happy. We are not yet done!’ he enthused.

Words by: Melissa Mungroo

Photographer:  Val Adamson