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A take on Xenophobia

4 Sep 2017

Mackenzie and Sonjica in action.

Story by Vanda Joubert

Touched by the unthinkable acts of xenophobia happening in South Africa, various dance groups have reached out to each other with the intention of breaking the borders between their countries, to connect and look at the future together.

The collaboration, Breaking Boarders, starts with the question, “Who am I as an African person?”

The project was created in residency at the Dance Space, Johannesburg and is a collaboration between Unmute Dance Company (Cape Town) and Tumbuka Dance Company (Harare)
Nadine Mackenzie, an award winning integrated dance teacher, features in this play that was recently performed in the main event at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown.

Nadine’s role and interaction in Breaking Boarders is performed excellently so much that the school kids who watched the show were convinced that she was acting the wheelchair user part. Her presence adds to the diversity of persons that are affected by acts of xenophobia.

The play uses images of violence from the scenes that happened a couple of years ago to add to the story. Various newspaper clips form part of the stage décor settings to depict stories from the period.

A voice note of Nelson Mandala’s speech is used containing his famous words like “…….peace, change, honesty, humanity – be humble, embrace and realize that violence must end”. The messages have a huge impact on the whole production.


Cast: Nadine Mackenzie, Rae Classen, Carlton Zhanelo, Stanley Wasili, Alexia Matabo and Zamakulungisa Sonjica
Choreographers: McIntosh Jerahuni and Yaseen Manuel
Production Manager: Themba Mbuli


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