Change the world


The ocean as the source of life and its ill-treatment or lack of appreciation by humans will be one of the highlights at the National Arts Festival, through the stage production I Mpilo Y Amanzi.

An originally conceptualised dance production, written and staged by Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University’s (NMMU) Department of Arts, Culture and Heritage students, I Mpilo Y A Manzi uses a mixture of dance styles to tell the juxtaposed story of the oceans.

The ballet is based on  the international art project "The spirit of water" by Dr Magda Minguzzi with Chief Margaret Coetzee, Chief Xam ≠ Gaob Maleiba - advocating for the preservation of the ocean, bringing about awareness around over-fishing, while tying into the heritage of the Khoisan people who used to live in harmony with the ocean.

It infuses a mixture of contemporary, neo-classical, jazz and traditional dance styles to bring the ocean to life, touching on history and heritage, juxtaposed against modern man and his folly of over-consumption. It brings forth an allegory of warning on man in his present day to think about the future of the ocean, and generations to come.

The production, directed and choreographed by NMMU Arts, Culture and Heritage projects co-ordinator Nicki-Ann Rayepen, will run at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown from July 3 – 5.

It joins a Sculpture and Design exhibition at the Johan Carinus Art Centre, which opened on Wednesday and will be open daily until July 9.

“A wealth of talent and demand in dance exists within the University’s student population and increasingly a light of importance and relevance is being shone on the arts to assist with many current social projects,” Rayepen said.

“Moreover, an opportunity for the harnessing and development of our students in this regard is being recognised.”

NMMU Arts, Culture and Heritage senior manager Michael Barry said the University was cognisant of the need for a more active role in the development of the cultural economy in the city and the Eastern Cape.

“Feeding into the cultural capital and economy of the city is one within which the university bears a responsibility to, and is cognisant of,” he said.

The crew, including the eight-member cast, leave for the City of Saints on Sunday, ahead of the performances at the Rhodes University Gymnasium from Monday to Wednesday.

NMMU music students composed the production, with originally composed music for the production created by Garth Erasmus from the Khoi Konnexion. Four of the cast members were instrumental in the choreography, while an Architecture student helped with set design.

The production will also be showcased at the University close to the launch of the country’s first dedicated maritime centre of excellence, the Ocean Sciences Campus, later this year.

  • NMMU Sculpture and Design exhibition

84 Beaufort St, Grahamstown

Times: 09h00 - 17h00 daily from 28 June to 9 July

  • I Mpilo Y Amanzi

Rhodes University Gymnasium

Africa Street, Grahamstown

Times: 09h00 – 3 July

           20h00 – 4 July

           12h00 – 5 July 

Contact information
Miss Nicki-Ann Rayepen
Project Coordinater
Tel: 041 504 2793