Author Archives

Robyn Sassen

A freelance arts writer since 1998, I fell in love with the theatre as a toddler, proved rubbish as a ballerina: my starring role was as Mrs Pussy in Noddy as a seven-year-old, and earned my stripes as an academic in Fine Arts and Art History, in subsequent years. I write for a range of online and print publications, including the Sunday Times, the Mail & Guardian and artslink.co.za and was formerly the arts editor of the SA Jewish Report, a weekly newspaper with which I was associated for 16 years. I am currently a Research Associate at Wits University. This blog promises you new stories every week, be they reviews, profiles, news stories or features.

For all the Thembalethus in our land (and their parents)

SIT STILL FOR a moment and listen. If you are lucky enough to be in a place where birdsong reaches your ears before the angry rush of traffic, hold onto that. But try to hear what those birds are saying, and take heed. This is the nub of […]

All feathered things, great and small

GLOWING, YET UNDERSTATED magic comes of a particular kind of candid, descriptive writing that doesn’t stoop to sensationalism or bald self-promotion. You can find this in George Orwell’s domestic diaries, but you can also find it in Adam Riley’s Birds of South Africa. This current publication offers an […]

For those who died as cattle

IT TAKES IMMENSE skill and maturity to know that the telling of a story filled with detail and drama, with interstices of horror and loss and replete with almost 60-year-old ghosts is done not with gimmicks and tricks, with big noise and flashing lights, but with an old […]

Give me fame, fortune and glory!

WHAT IS A teen flick? Dealing with issues and dreams too big to fit a framework suitable for pre-adolescents, it should contain the values that feel relevant to youth, but not flow too deep or wide to be irresponsible, and yet retain a relevance that’s neither prissy nor […]

How to teach a child to ride a bicycle

VICIOUSNESS IS OFT a convenient veil to wear in the face of extreme anguish. Playwright Simon Woods takes a rich and complex understanding of social values and their tipping points in his extraordinary play, Hansard. Coupled with incisive direction by Robert Whitehead and a give-and-take performance by Fiona […]

Lost and found: My baby girl

It was any woman’s absolute worst nightmare. And it was a story that rocked South Africa to its core. In April of 1997, Celeste Nurse gave birth to her first baby at Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town. A beautiful little girl. Amidst the blur of giving birth […]