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.

Ode to a little Tiger

GRAVE ILLNESS IS a strange thing. It shifts your understanding of places in your heart that you are scared to think about: Places that you consider taboo, until they are in your face and you have no alternative. And it educates you in ways you could never have […]

Whistle three times, if you want me

VERY OCCASIONALLY, YOU may be lucky enough to come across a piece of radio theatre which makes you remember why the wireless has unequivocal superiority over the slippery slick ostensibly perfect technology our world is heir to, on digital film. Albert Short’s spooky Afrikaans-language work Naand Josef, which […]

Secrets of a humble Jacaranda

IN THESE DAYS of earth-shattering news from every quarter, you might have news-fatigue. You might find yourself aimlessly scrolling through social media, not allowing your eye to catch on things that will tear holes in your sense of hope. And further to all of that, you might find […]

Ode to the minds that sway

YOU MAY HAVE your opinion about how other people lead their lives or live within the confines of their bodies, but have you ever really considered taking the proverbial ‘stepping into someone’s shoes’ all the way? Stripping its narrative of sweet or sweeping platitudes, Jerry Rothwell’s film The […]

The bloody roots of green trees

WHICHEVER WAY YOU look at it, the little sliver of land at the heart of the Middle East is a hot potato. Enough to get otherwise intelligent and rational people spouting vicious invectives at strangers who have different opinions about it. Or its right to exist. That’s Israel […]

Being Elsie

A CERTAIN LEVEL of cold-bloodedness seems a requisite in writing a critical biography of someone the author loved dearly, with the knowledge that strangers will read this book. And that the publisher wants a serious work on the shelves. But an enormous level of skill is necessary in […]

How water gives. And takes.

Take an old and revolting story of disrespect and abuse, of entrenched behaviour and broken dreams. Put it into the mouth and sensibilities of young filmmakers and you may find yourself in the presence of an unexpected bit of pure poetry. This is what you can anticipate in […]

Ghosts in the soil

THE GROUND THAT you think is firm enough to hold you and your history and values may not be as solid or kind to you as you think. Or hope. It’s a concatenation of ghosts, of the detritus of dead buried there and of the messy issues associated […]

How long does a hamster last?

EPISODE 19 OF the podcast series The End of the Line takes the premises of the project and reaches into an even more complex situation than a quizzical ‘why don’t you want to have babies?’ posed by a stranger to a pretty young woman. Naomi, played by Jennifer […]

Babies and The Struggle

WHEN YOU LIVE in an overtly political context, wherever in the world you are, the issue of having babies is coloured by The Struggle. Why? Is it because it’s another sensibility to march on your side? Another voice to sing to your tune? Perhaps. This is the focus […]