Zuko Wonderfull Sikhafungana
Fellow: Early Career Doctoral Fellow
Zuko Wonderfull Sikhafungana born in Matatiele, Eastern Cape is a PhD Anthropology student at the University of the Western Cape (UWC), a fellow at the Centre for Humanities Research (CHR) and artist in residence at the Factory of the Arts. He has also studied in the Netherlands in Leiden University as an exchange student. Zuko is a theatre maker, playwright, director, filmmaker, cofounder and artistic director of Back Stage Theatre Production (BSTP) a theatre company which is based in Strand, Lwandle township. His research field of interest lies within the margins of ‘community’ and mainstream theatre.
His MA dissertation focused on ways in which black theatre artists from marginalised disadvantaged communities with and without formal training negotiate themselves within theatre spaces in Cape Town. Attempting to demonstrate how works of arts that awkwardly sits with labels such as “community” or “mainstream” theatre are emerging more and more in the Cape Town theatre scene. Through outreach initiatives in the city—the Zabalaza Theatre Festival, the Magnet Theatre Culture Gangs, the Full Time Training and the Job Creation Programme—that are offering opportunities to artists that are excluded from the mainstream theatre industry, providing channels and platforms that bring community theatre outside of the township space. Highlighting how community theatre artists are reclaiming and redefining what it means to practice theatre today inside and outside the townships.
His intention is extending his work to a national scale, attempting to assess the state of contemporary post-apartheid theatre in South Africa.