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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.

Compassionate believer in resilience: RIP Mirah Wilks

GIFTED TEACHER, DEDICATED psychologist, professional endowed with compassion, creativity, authority and conviction, Mirah Wilks was brutally murdered in her own home, north of Johannesburg on October 6. She was 68. In many respects a shape-shifter, both in her own career and with the dreams of others, Wilks was […]

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Do you believe in magic?

FEELING JADED BY all the sham, fake news and broken dreams that this world is dishing out to all of us right now? Well, there may be an antidote. Scholars and sociologists of the ilk of Rudolf Steiner, Joseph Campbell and others drew their threads of belief out […]

Pavarotti’s gift

THE TRUTH IS a strange thing in the film industry. All too often the disclaimer that a piece is ‘based on the unbelievable but true story’ is used in the marketing junket. Does it really matter? Does it work? Do people flock more to see a film that […]

Holy tales in clay that give life

SACREDNESS IN AN object comes in many iterations, many of which can be completely unexpected. When you visit Charmaine Haines’s exhibition at the Kim Sacks Gallery, you will be accosted with a sense of the sacred that is joyful and full of levity, bold and clear, but unequivocally […]

My heart belongs to the sea

HOLIDAY TIME BECKONS and a young white South African family comprising two little girls, a teenaged son and their parents are readying themselves for their annual seaside vacation. Bessie (Simonè Benjamin) is but 19. She’s brown. And she’s employed as the family’s nanny. And she’s never seen the […]

Haunted by Matlakala

THE PLIGHT OF melanin-deficient people came under the medical marketing spotlight in South Africa through the month of September, which made the brief staging of Arthur Molepo’s contemplation on albinism Mama, I want the black that you are, particularly prescient. It’s a complicated work told with a hand […]

I am my mother’s child

VERY RARELY DO you get a coming together of narrative values that are not only sensitive to the text that they honour, but also have the maturity and sense of purpose to create a filmic product that stands on its own creative feet. This is what happens in […]

He ain’t scary, he’s my tokoloshe

SAY THE WORD ‘tokoloshe’ and you will have people quivering in their boots for generations. But relieve that scary sprite of his evil associations and you open a rich vein of narrative possibilities that teases open everything from fake news to bullying, fah-fee rhetoric to face time with […]