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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. This blog promises you new stories every week, be they reviews, profiles, news stories or features.

Out there on our own

YOU KNOW THE guy who stands on the street corner you drive past every day? The woman who walks through the shopping centre where you shop, all her worldly possessions in two bags she carries? What about the teenager you see skulking around the municipal bins when the […]

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Secret weapons

IF YOU WERE conscious in South Africa between the 1960s and 1990s, when the apartheid army held sway over South Africa’s male youth, the premises of Korporaal Lemmer en die Rowers, this week’s Afrikaans-language radio drama on Radio Sonder Grense will bring swarms of goosebumps, blending army humiliation […]

Freedom and a crocheted blue blanket

THE CUT AND thrust of child trafficking in the skanky Italian village of Castel Volturno in Naples is the central focus of Vice of Hope, a beautifully told and immensely balanced tale of guttural possibility told through carefully constructed symbols in Italian with English-subtitles directed by Edoardo De […]

Bright and fierce morals for tots

WHAT DO YOU do when you’re tasked with the staging of modern children’s classic that burst into popularity in 1964 and did not stint in saying things that were hilariously rude, flying in the face of all refined convention with some chewed chewing gum stuck behind its proverbial […]

Lara’s formidable journey

THE GODS WHICH confer talent can be very cruel. Sometimes they offer the passion but surround it by so many obstacles, it makes your head spin. In casting a yarn based on the life story of transgender dancer Nora Monsecour, Lukas Dhont’s Girl, a film in French and […]

Capitalism, unbridled

THE GENTRIFICATION OF urban neighbourhoods – even in cities such as Johannesburg or Cape Town – was once seen as a panacea to all society’s ills; today it has turned into a proverbial four letter word. This is because of its moral promises and literal hypocrisies, in the […]

Young Woman and the Sea

THE ADJECTIVE USED to describe a persecuted community is dynamite. It can represent the psychological difference between your being able to recognise those someones in the community as people just like you, or “others” that are not like you at all, and therefore have nothing to do with […]

Saving face

VISUAL ART HAS primeval, ritualistic roots; amid the moneyed operations of galleries and the cloying notion of commercially accessible easy art, sometimes those old levels of cruelty and wisdom poke through. When you encounter the current body of self-portraits by Steven Cohen, collectively entitled There’s glitter in my soup!, […]

Guys and dolls

OCCASIONALLY, YOU FIND a radio play which has the wisdom to splay open a socially controversial issue by engaging your intellectual muscle as well as all your funny bones. Doller as kopaf is a hilarious  and brilliant spot of social commentary, crisply focused and beautifully constructed around the […]