listen up and read about our podcast “between twenty and thirty: conversations for the new moon”

Between Twenty and Thirty: Conversations for the New Moon was ABZ’s very first podcast project. Throughout 2019, Kopano Maroga and Nicola van Straaten sat down with nine different artists and cultural workers working with the body, to hear about their lives and careers between the ages of twenty and thirty. Each conversation was released on a new moon and lasted no longer than thirty minutes.

The recorded conversations aimed to both document the lives of various South African arts practitioners as well as provide information and inspiration for emerging artists navigating their twenties. Each conversation was also transcribed and is available for download here.

Episode 9: With Themba Mbuli

In this conversation, choreographer and dancer Themba Mbuli shares his almost accidental discovery of dance, his training with Moving Into Dance Mophatong and his work with various contemporary dance companies. He speaks of how his travels informed his creative work, the emergence of his solo career and the co-founding of two companies, Unmute Dance Company and Broken Borders. We are honoured to have this recording in our archive, and commemorate the painful loss of this incredible person, who passed away in January 2021. Never forgotten, rest in power, Themba.

Photo: Sydelle Willow Smith

Episode 8: With Joni Barnard

In this conversation, we hear the story of Joni Barnard, performer, teacher, artist and rapper. From her discovery of dance and embodied movement practice at the Theatre Department of Rhodes University in Makhanda to her years of teaching and making work in Johannesburg and her move to Berlin.

Photo by: Zee Hartmann

Episode 7: With Caroline Calburn

In this conversation, we join Caroline Calburn of the Theatre Arts Admin Collective in Observatory. Caroline shares with us the experience of her studies during the mid-eighties at the Wits Drama Department, the discovery of her love of teaching and the importance of finding what brings value to your life.

Episode 6: With Kristina Johnstone

In this conversation, dancer and educator Kristina Johnstone speaks of her journey from Belgium to South Africa to Uganda and back to South Africa again, as she pursued and developed her dance practice. From teaching ballet for the Queen of the Buganda kingdom, to organizing dance festivals, running a dance company and writing a PhD, Kristina shares with us some of the most valuable lessons she learned along the way.

Photo: Lindsey Appolis

Episode 5: With Sukuma Mkhize

In this conversation, we listen to Sukuma’s gradual shift from astrophysics and astronomy to light installations and artistic work. From philosophy and science to curiosity and collaboration – join Sukuma’s fascinating story through his twenties.

Photo: Tauriq Dolley

Episode 4: With Robyn Orlin

In this conversation, choreographer Robyn Orlin shares with us the hustle of her emerging years as a choreographer, dancer and teacher as she returned to a changing Johannesburg in the 70s, after studying dance in London.

Photo by: Jérôme Séron

Episode 3: With Jay Pather

In this conversation, we hear the fascinating account Jay Pather’s twenties as he pursued his studies in theatre during the peak of apartheid. Jay Pather, artist, curator and academic shares stories about how he navigated the early years of his career and the extremity of politics imbued within and upon the body.

Episode 2: With Mmakgosi Kgabi

In this conversation, we listen to actor and performer Mmakgosi Kgabi’s story from Botswana to South Africa to Germany as the would-be economist hustled to be in the theatre and take her place as a performer. Radio, musical theatre, television, dance and performance – Mmakgosi has done it all and shares her story as well as some tips on how to make the hustle work.

Episode 1: With Nico Athene

In this episode, we follow the story of how Nico moved from the film industry to stripping to performing arts. This conversation looks at questions of sexual labour, privatisation of intimacy, the blurring of public and private and why the whole philosophical “brains-in-vats” idea is an inherently privileged white male thinking place.