This year, Women’s Month will hit an electrifying note when the multi-award-winning Tankiso Mamabolo (from Aunty Merle, The Musical and The Fall-fame) brings her latest solo show, Tankiso Live: The Audacity to Be, to the Baxter Golden Arrow Studio, for two weeks only,- from 6 to 17 August at 8.30pm, nightly.
The 26-year-old performer received much acclaim for her sensational performances in two of the Baxter’s hugely successful productions in recent years, The Fall (which has toured to Scotland, the UK, the US, Australia, Ireland and France), garnering several top awards along the way. She also wowed audiences with her portrayal of Lydia Majola in Marc Lottering’s Aunty Merle, The Musical. The hit musical played to three sold-out seasons at the Baxter Theatre and she received a Fleur du Cap nomination for the role.
Tankiso is an actor, composer, singer, writer and dancer. She graduated from the University of Cape Town in 2015 with a BA (Hons) in Theatre and Performance. In 2011 she was awarded the Arts and Culture Trust Performing Arts Scholarship.
In her short time as a professional actor, she has successfully carved a name for herself with her performances in productions such as Marat/Sade, directed by Jaco Bouwer and John Kani’s Nothing But the Truth.
The Fall, which she co-wrote and performed in, won the 2016 Fleur Du Cap Encore award. The play went on to be staged at the 2017 Edinburgh Assembly Fringe Festival where it received several five-star reviews and clinched the prestigious Scotsman Fringe First award and The Edinburgh Stage cast award, as well as being shortlisted for the Amnesty International Freedom of Expression Award. It was nominated for the Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Visiting Production in the US and received a Naledi Theatre award nomination in 2018.
Her debut music show, Tankiso Live - a collection of her original works - had a sold-out season at the Baxter’s Masambe Theatre last year. Most recently, she was featured as a writer and vocalist on the song Inenekazi by electronic music producer and DJ Si_Jones.
Tankiso’s musical style is dynamic and with this latest show, she moulds protest song into original music, storytelling, projected imagery and comedy that evokes unwavering pride and engagement. Drawing inspiration from lush and soulful musical styles such as RnB, jazz and blues, she pays homage to South African musical icons such as Simphiwe Dana, Thandiswa Mazwai, Caiphus Semenya and Nakhane, as she recalls her own story through song.
Writing from the perspective of a black woman, Mamabolo reclaims this story masterfully with a deft and independent voice. She deals with a range of topics from childhood experiences, loss, heartbreak, love and oppression, to hope and healing. She chooses to focus
on the positive, composing beautiful and bold ballads as an ode to both the woman inside and the women who will be represented in Tankiso Live: The Audacity to Be.
“I wanted to create a show of songs and stories that celebrate women, and particularly, the stories of black women and their points of view. At the same time, I want to do this in a space of healing and remembrance,” explains Tankiso. “Women’s Month is the perfect time to bring attention to women’s issues, while celebrating who we are. When the Baxter approached me, I thought it fitting to do a show that does precisely that.”
To enhance her story, Tankiso has carefully chosen a five-piece, all-male band, Sweet Chilli, to bring her music to the stage. The exceptional Cape Town musicians comprise Tyrone Marinus, Keith De Bruyn, Ivan Potts, Franco Mannel and Marcell Adams. She takes them along the journey of awareness and involvement in black female issues. Her backing vocalists are Sizwesandile Mnisi (also from The Fall and Aunty Merle, The Musical) and rising talent Nos’milo Gcwensa.
“This show has more personality than my last,” says the sassy young star. “I have focused on more audience interaction and storytelling, while highlighting issues that are rarely addressed in the entertainment industry such as mental health.”
Mothers and daughters are encouraged to book for the performance on Women’s Day, 9 August, to experience the magic of the music and stand a chance to win some wonderful prizes.
Tankiso Live: The Audacity to Be, is made possible by the City of Cape Town and runs at the Baxter Golden Arrow Studio from 6 to 17 August at 8.30pm nightly. Tickets cost R120, R60 for the preview on 6 August and for block-bookings of 10 more and R80 for the Women’s Day special on 9 August. Booking is through Webtickets on 086 111 0005, online at www.webtickets.co.za or from any Pick n Pay stores.