Nomashenge stirs up alchemy like no other

When Nomashenge Dlamini rocked the Poetry Corner stage, she promised to be back with a whole lot more in 2018. We’re happy to announce that she’s back with “Harmonious Dichotomous”, her own production complete with a killer photography series and a 3 piece band.

Harmonious Dichotomous is certainly an interesting name, please tell us more about it and how it came about?
I wanted to create a term that would quantify the vastly, dynamic, ceaselessly complexity that we are as humans. I had come to see how magnificent we are and yet matchless in our darkness, I had come to appreciate the Harmony of our Dichotomy. It still boggles me that we can go through slavery, sexism, loss, depression, make unforgivable mistakes, like, hey, be the enemy and the victim,  just all that agony and still we are beautiful, and passionate, and hilarious, and thriving, we are a functioning enigma.

From there it was a matter of deriving from the suffixes and cadence often used in the biological terms of species and then boom Harmonious Dichotomous, a new name for the Neosapien.

You’ve blown us away with your performances at Poetry Corner and A Night of Nectar with Upile Chisala, what can we expect this time around? The same kind of magic?
Hopefully a step further. I’m always looking to transcend my previous performances, always keen to be more spiritually and emotionally charged and leave people shooketh nje! Alchemy will be at work!

I’ll be performing with a 3-piece band (a lead guitarist, bassist and percussionist) for an hour-long production, just those elements nje of music and time have made me surpass any effort I’ve put into a poetry performance before, it will be like no other. The rehearsals are gruesome and taxing because of the energy that is going into this, the torture is a worthy sweet taboo.

You are working with Sqwayi Kumalo as your director, what does he bring to the production and how did your working relationship come together?
Sqwayi and I have been friends for years. I met him during our varsity days in an arts collective called Keen Artist Theatre. I was definitely drawn to the way he processes an everyday scenario and mutates it artistically. His execution was always daring and unlike anything I’d ever seen before and that’s exactly what he’s bringing into this, evolving the show from a performance into an experience. He was such an effortless choice for this.

This is your first production, how are you feeling as the big day draws closer?
There’s a large part of me, an all knowing core that I think exists within all of us that’s saying: “You’re going to be amazing” and “ you’ve been preparing for this from your first poem” and “halala!”…and then there’s the anxious, neurotic maniac who is losing it.
Over-all, I have this inexplicable joy hey. When I’m in rehearsals, it’s becoming more and more apparent how beautiful the whole experience is going to be.

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Harmonious Dichotomous explores some intense themes; blackness, mental health, religion, insecurities & fear. This can leave a performer feeling quite vulnerable in front of an audience, how do you prepare for that?
I don’t actually prepare for it. I think what consoles me about all that vulnerability and exposé is a belief that my stage is an altar on which I seek to worship and sacrifice my comfort, my decorum even my dignity for my own healing and then hopefully aid others in their journeys. It’s a spiritualism I take on that guides and protects me at all times.

Putting on a show like this always needs a dope team, please tell us about the people who have worked to make it all possible.
Oh yeah definitely. Fate has brought into my path a group of phenomenal people who constantly cheer me on and aren’t afraid to give me the necessary tough love to stir me out of my own insecurities and self-pities and fears.
– Vus’umuzi Phakathi is leading the production, using his dexterous abilities and experiences with our developing industry to put everything into place.
– Tshitso Jus Purple Makunyane incepts the music, an incredible guitarist who will lead the band into harmony.
– Baeletsi Tsatsi will be opening the show. She is a renowned story-teller and a gust of gorgeous energy.
– African Flavour Books Braamfontein will be our generous hosts for the show, Ntate Helepi has trusted us with his space and his continuous encouragement makes this a definite success.

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I’m really loving the powerful photography for the show. Who is the photographer and what was the idea behind the shoot?
The awesome photography is by Stan Leonard. When we first met last year for the first shoot I told him the name of the show and that I wanted the visuals to conceptualise duality which he executed so well, I then did a second shoot with him in which I focused on the new being, the blotches of white on my face represents the asymmetry, the often neutral or sober expression is for balance, and the mustard-yellow for all the unexpected light that still dwells within us.

We are so are honoured to play host to Nomashenge at our next Poetry League show for a young preview of her production that will be on the very next day at African Flavour Books in Braamfontein. She’ll be selling tickets but truthis, there might not be any left by then, so buy your today to avoid disappointment. Get all the event details here.

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