Dark Cell (Duet) features two Standard Bank Young Artist Award recipients for Dance, Themba Mbuli and Fana Tshabalala with Thulani Chauke, who join forces to reimagine Mbuli’s Dark Cell (Solo) which has already toured 10 countries and 15 cities.
While the work is celebrating and commemorating the rich history of Kliptown where the adaptation of Freedom Charter was made 64 years ago, the piece is also embedded in the past as a mirror of contemporary society and reflecHon of postcolonial interioriHes.
Dark Cell draws its inspiration and metaphors from historical living condition of ex- political prisoners in Robben Island parallel to the imagery of the current degrading living conditions that people of Kliptown are faced with. This theatrical dance work uses the concept of a incarceration as a metaphor for the modern day concentraHon camp in Kliptown.
Themba Mbuli’s 2012 solo creation Dark Cell, was a response to Dark City, which draws its inspiration from images of political prisoners on Robben Island to explore issues around mental imprisonment – what Mbuli calls “the worst prison that any man can ever be in”. The work has since been performed at several festivals in South Africa, including the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown in 2014, and has toured Sweden, Argentina, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Namibia the Netherlands Wales and England.
“THERE’S STILL TIME to change your plans today and go and see what is arguably the finest piece of dance that has graced Johannesburg’s stages in a long while... Dark Cell is a compelling, beauHful and well-made piece. It’s the kind of work that should be billed on the front of many a dance programme – not only in this city.” - Robyn Sassen