Playwright Sello Maseko wins big at Naledi Theatre Awards


Angola Camp 13, a musical theatre production by Sello Maseko, was the biggest winner of the 2020 Naledi Theatre Awards on Sunday, September 13.

Local theatre playwright and production director, Sello Maseko is a proud product of the Ishashalazi theatre development programme. The Gauteng MEC for Sports, Arts, Culture and Recreation Mbali Hlophe has congratulated Maseko on the big win.

The poster for Angola 13 theatre production by Sello Maseko received a lot of positive reviews from media outlets like the Mail & Guardian and The Daily Maverick.

“A massive congratulations to Mr Maseko and his entire cast and crew for creating an incredible piece of work that has been recognized for its excellence. It is an honour to see a beneficiary of the department’s programme achieve such great success and we hope to see many more of Gauteng’s creative talents continue on this trajectory in the future.”, said MEC Hlophe.

Angola Camp 13 won in 6 categories at the prestigious Naledi Theatre Awards, including: Best Director in a musical Sello Maseko; Best Choreography Mduduzi Vincent Nhlapo; Best Musical Original Score Cromwell Modungwa; Best Sound Design Blessing Jiyane; Best Musical Original Score and Best Ensemble.

The musical about MK soldiers in exile in Angola during the liberation struggle was staged at the National Arts Festival and South African State Theatre in 2019.

The production has received many positive reviews on media websites like The Daily Maverick and Mail & Guardian.

Maseko first got involved in the Ishashalazi development programme in 2011, when he participated in the training workshops for writing and directing, where grooming and skills development led to creation of numerous Ishashalazi award winning theatre productions such as A Moment When Love Hurts and Apprehension The Musical. His journey with the progamme elevated when he returned to the Ishashalazi workshops in 2015 as a facilitator to develop new trainees.

He began writing Angola in 2016 and in 2018 the production was selected to be developed by the State Theatre’s Incubator programme. Following sold out and critically acclaimed performances at several festivals across the country, the musical made it to the mainstream theatre pace with a run at the State Theatre last year. 

Scenes from the Angola 13 theatre production. Picture: National Arts Festival

MEC Mbali Hlophe added:” It is a testament to hard work and dedication and with development of talent through training and education, growth to mainstream success within the creative industries is possible”.

The Ishashalazi (the stage) Theatre programme is part of the Gauteng Department of Sport, Arts, Culture and Recreation creative arts programme.

It aims at identifying, nurturing and exposing talent in performance arts within the province by providing community theatre practitioners at grassroots level with training workshops and platforms to exhibit productions.

Ishashalazi continues to be an important conveyor-belt in the development of theatre and film talent for the industry. The flagship programme has helped produce artists who have gone on to achieve success on other mediums including television and film.

Some of the names that went through the programme include Mduduzi Mabaso, Meshack Mavuso, Terry Pheto and Mpho Malatsi amongst others, which now includes award winning director Sello Maseko.

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