Dancer Thami Tshabala Tributes Activist Simon Tseko Nkoli
The late anti-apartheid, gay rights, and HIV and AIDS activist Simon Tseko Nkoli's memory will be celebrated in dance with a solo piece, SIMON performed by award winning Dancer and Choreographer Thami Tshabalala from 15th to 19th May 2019 at the South African State Theatre.
Nkoli (1957-1998) is attributed as the father of LGBTI community in South Africa. In 1983 he joined GASA (Gay and Lesbian Association of South Africa) to which he formed the first black gay group which was called 'Saturday Group'. After being acquitted in 1988 he founded GLOW (Gay and Lesbian Organization) with fellow LGBTI activist Bev Ditsie which lead to the first pride in South Africa that he initiated. He became member of the International Gay and Lesbian Association board, representing Africa. He also fought against apartheid and spoke at rallies in support of rental boycotts at the Vaal. Simon was arrested in 1984 alongside 21 other political leaders for treason. He came out whilst in prison to the other members which helped change the attitude of the ANC towards gay rights.
SIMON pays homage to this legendary activist and the narrative details the fruitful journey of his struggles, triumphs, social acceptance to the brim of his existence. The work debuted at the recent relaunch of Dance Umbrella Africa in early April.
"We seldom celebrate and acknowledge those superficial to us, unknown yet impacted the lives we treasure today. Simon's life journey and the values he stood for connected deeply with me which in turn motivated me to acknowledge and appreciate the history we have, see it as art and paint my own canvas. We have a vast archive of inhabitant stories which are rooted in Africa, stories about- of our people which have never seen the light of day," says Tshabalala.
In 2013, Tshabalala graduated with Diploma in Dance (cum-laude) where he was awarded the Kelsey Middleton floating trophy for Best Contemporary dancer and Best Choreography for his work 'And the Soft Voices Die.' Upon finishing his studies, he had already started working with the acclaimed Dancer and choreographer Dada Masilo. To date, their working relationship is still water tight. Tshabala is still touring with Masilo's Swan Lake as the BLACK SWAN 'Odile' and understudy to her as Giselle in its' recent return from an extensive European performed in New York, France, Italy, Chile, Belgium, Amsterdam to name a few.
Tickets for SIMON can be purchased for R80 at Webtickets online and Pick n Pay stores.