Two doyens of the arts from Alex with a combined 70 years of selfless service to the industry have added to their cabinet of accolades.
The Gauteng Department of Sport, Arts, Culture and Recreation awarded Matlakala Motaung and Selaelo Maredi with certificates of excellence at the annual Ishashalazi Theatre Awards ceremony at Carletonville Civic Centre. This for their sterling work of refining and promoting various genres of the arts.
“Worldwide, theatre shapes citizens’ thinking and incites them to participate in social and political issues affecting their daily lives,” said the 50-year-old Motaung.
Reflecting on her exciting journey in the industry which started at the age of seven, she said, “I have received many accolades including for plays about Julius Caesar and local folklore which Maredi and others polished, enabling me to perform in world-renowned theatres in Paris, France, Edinburgh, West Indies, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and other places.” The recent accolade attests to her untiring work to expose hidden talent countrywide. “Many of my proteges now feature on local and international stages as polished musicians, poets, comedians and acting role models, shaping national agendas through theatre.”
Maredi, who has starred with the best worldwide, is a leading national figure of black theatre alongside other notables, Gison Kente, John Kani and Mongane Serote who used the arts to expose apartheid on the world’s stages. “We ensured artists were regarded as liberators and created multiracial theatre which continues to attract authorities to the remaining political and social ills in society,” Maredi said.
He lamented the current lack of depth and sidestepping of key social issues by the arts, attributing it to entrapment by commercial interests. “We should defend theatre at all costs through new untainted talent in community theatre whose role should still be to develop the capacity in society to critique misuse of power and corruption which impedes development, transformation and social change.”