Thamsanqa Majela steps into the future with ‘Don’t Let The Sun Set On You Here’

A scene from ‘Don't Let The Sun Set On You Here’, choreographed by Standard Bank Young Artist for Dance 2022 Thamsanqa Majela. Picture: Supplied

A scene from ‘Don't Let The Sun Set On You Here’, choreographed by Standard Bank Young Artist for Dance 2022 Thamsanqa Majela. Picture: Supplied

Published Nov 28, 2023


Thamsanqa Majela, the Standard Bank Young Artist Award Winner for 2022 in Dance, is bringing his award-winning show, “Don’t Let The Sun Set On You Here”, to Soweto Theatre for a one-off performance this Sunday.

The choreographer, creative director and performing artist said he was inspired to unpack “African issues” in the dance piece.

He said: I always imagine us black people also going into space. And, in reading about the apartheid regime, where people had to enter cities at a certain time and then had to leave at a certain time, I felt it was important to touch on that.

“For me, ‘Don’t Let The Sun Set On You Here’ is all about how we dance into the future as black people if we had to be in space and also technologically advanced. I mean, Americans have been in space.

“The Chinese have been in space. Russians have been in space.”

Before unpacking more on the show, he weighed in on his win at the Standard Bank Young Artist Awards.

“As an independent artist, it is a big deal. I was happy, after years of doing my work independently, that South Africa can recognise you. It was huge. It was a great recognition as an artist.”

Back to the production, he said he worked with four male artists, one was from Tanzania, the other from Zimbabwe and the other two were from SA, himself included.

A scene from ‘Don't Let The Sun Set On You Here’, choreographed by Standard Bank Young Artist for Dance 2022 Thamsanqa Majela. Picture: Supplied

Unfortunately, the artist from Tanzania is not in the show.

“They are very different, which is what I love. I’m using movement that embodies animals and it looks at how they are connected to us, not just spiritually.

“The choreography is inspired by animals and nature, and there is a whole lot of Egyptian history in it as well.”

The set uses a lot of pyramids as well.

Given his versatility, Majela wears the hat of producer, director, music composer and dancer in this show.

He laughed: “I know my vision and it is closer to me and I can easily access it. So it makes juggling easier. But I won’t lie, it’s a lot of work. There were times when I would take stress pills but it is much better now.

“This work is packed with recognisable/relatable subliminal messages and symbolisms from an African perspective.

“The question: ‘How do we move in the future’ was a vehicle for me: Our world is ever changing so rapidly, surely even machines will be exhausted.

“To be staging this piece at Soweto Theatre is a huge privilege. I always aim to share my work with different communities in South Africa and I believe Soweto is special, given its historical background, it is also a place which reflects on all of these themes. It is a community with rapid change.”

“Don’t Let The Sun Set on You Here’ was made possible with support from the National Arts Council, Pacofs and the French Institute of South Africa.

The show will be staged on Sunday, December 3, at 3pm. Tickets cost R100. For block bookings please call the Soweto Theatre box office.


“A Christmas Carol”

The much-anticipated return of “A Christmas Carol” is here to light up the holiday season. The beloved classic, which has been playing to sold-out audiences for six-consecutive years, is set to enchant Johannesburg.

Described as “a sumptuous banquet for the eyes, ears, and imagination; a sensory delight for any tired soul”, this adaptation of Charles Dickens’s timeless story is a heart-warming celebration of humanity, family and the boundless generosity of the human spirit.

William Harding will don the shoes of Scrooge and Taylor Salgado will breathe life into the captivating supporting cast.

Where: Pieter Toerien’s Montecasino Theatre.

When: On until December 10, at 7pm.

Cost: Ticket prices range from R150 to R230 and can be purchased via Webtickets.

“The Terrified Talabalushi”

A theatre piece with music for children, directed by award-winning Omphile Molusi and composed by the multitalented Volley Nchabeleng.

Set in the Knysna forest, the protagonist is Tokkie, a terrified young Talabalushi. Tokkie’s family have reached their wits’ end because their youngest, Tokkie, is terrified of everything but mostly, he is terrified of the light.

This means that he can’t go out scaring, which is what he is meant to do.

Most people don’t know what Talabalushis are, which isn’t surprising – they are very secretive and are active only after sunset.

A Talabalushi is a small, mischievous southern African creature. It’s a combination of a goblin, a spirit and a tree creature found in the unseen side of South African forests, and sometimes even closer to our villages, towns and cities.

The production promises to be an excellent way to explore the emotions of fear in a safe and entertaining way.

Where: The Market Theatre.

When: On until December 17 at 11am.

Cost: Tickets cost R150 and can be purchased from Webtickets.

“Peter Pan”

As you prepare to let your hair down over the festival period, it doesn’t mean you have to find different activities for the whole family.

Janice Honeyman’s pantomime “Peter Pan” makes for the perfect family outing.

As for the principal cast, Honeyman, wearing the hat of writer and director, has Sandi Dlangalala playing Peter Pan, Ben Voss as Captain Hook, Michael Richard as Captain Hook’s sidekick, Smee, Kiruna-Lind Devar as Wendy, David Arnold Johnson as Dame Clementina Coconut and newcomer Virtuous Kandemiri as Tinkerbell.

Where: The Mandela Stage at Joburg Theatre.

When: On until December 24.

Cost: Prices vary between R130 and R360 and can be purchased through Webtickets.