Qondiswa James

Shortlisted for the CASA Award for woman-identified playwrights 2018, A Howl in Makhanda is a semi-autobiographical work about two black and two white South African teenagers at an elite all girls boarding school who break the rules and how the disciplinary board deals with each of them differently. Xoli, Bawdy, Sam and Karla are a group of grade 11 girls who attend the Diocesan School for Girls (DSG), Makhanda. DSG has recently built a wall around itself with an electric fence to keep the outside out and the inside in. The girls roil and suffocate inside. The play explores the following themes: high school pregnancy, racism and sexism, peer pressure, religion, family, loyalty, freedom and identity. Using passages from Sylvia Plath, Kurt Cobain and Allen Ginsberg, the play archives the struggle and resistance of the girl-child and brings visibility especially to the racialised issues of young black girlhoods by interrogating the undesirability – or the inherent delinquency or criminality – of the black femme body.


  • Genre: Theatre
  • Format: Video
  • Duration: 1hr 5mins
  • Language: English
  • Ages: 14+
  • Available From:
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Director/Producer: Qondiswa James
Producer: Jenna Bass
Camera: Shaun Swingler
Sound: Lubabalo Bozo
Editor: Stephen Abbott
Composer: Jannous Aukema
Lighting Designer: Themba Stewart

Cast: Kim Adonis, Megan Theron, Yamkela Ntendiyo, Rosa-Karoo Loewe, Zukisani Nongogo