93 - Nhlanhla Mahlangu: Chant of a nation

August 11th 2020

In this week’s episode I jump back to an interview I did at Design Indaba earlier this year but the relevance of the content has not changed and if anything in light of recent events is that much more powerful to listen to. I had the privilege of a half an hour conversation with Nhlanhla Mahlangu known both locally and internationally for his richly choreographed theatrical productions and his work with the famous South African artist William Kentridge. Nhlanhla is the very embodiment of tenacity. Born in Phola Park informal settlement on Johannesburg’s East Rand during the height of Apartheid, he was unable to complete his matric due to the ANC, IFP and the ‘Third Force’ violence in the Nineties, dashing his dreams of going to music school.

This is probably the most political conversation I have had on my podcast and it was humbling. I learnt a lot from this short exchange. Nhlanlha does not hold back on his beliefs about the state of our country. He embodies a fierce courage that gently cuts straight to the heart of the matter. Listening to this again 6 months later I am deeply saddened about where we are as a country today, made even worse by the events of our times. Don’t skip this episode, it is important to have the difficult conversations and hear the hard things in order to heal and move forward.