dumile feni: 4 provocations

Nadia Beugré; nora chipaumire; Dorothée Munyaneza; Chuma Sopotela

Zwelidumile Geelboi Mgxaji Mslaba “Dumile” Feni  (1942 – 1991) was a South African contemporary visual artist of immense power who spent a large part of his life in exile. Four seminal performance artists of our time were invited to consider the range of his work and his life and to create initial performative provocations. Bringing together these artists, Zimbabwean born, New York based nora chipaumire; 2018 Standard Bank Young Artist for Performance Art Chuma Sopotela; British-Rwandan Dorothée Munyaneza and Ivorian Nadia Beugré in one programme is a feat in itself. Their responses to the provocation are testament to their standing as artists in their own right.

Sidestepping a prosaic re-interpretation of another artist’s work, each performance artist also delve deeper into aspects of Feni’s life, aspects that resonated with them – the ache of and for home, a pre-occupation with music from the motherland, creating art in poverty, the paradox of exile – that bring us closer to understanding Feni, the artist and the human. This is probably the only time that we will witness these artists on one programme. It is envisaged that each response to the provocation will be developed into individual works for later iterations of the National Arts Festival and the ICA Live Art Festival.

Dumile Feni’s life comprised a complex series of events of persecution and opportunity through the height of apartheid in South Africa. Forced into exile, his work took him to many parts of the world, much of it spent in poverty. Like many artists of his ilk Feni was more celebrated after his death. He never got a chance to come back home and died in New York in 1991. A comprehensive biography is available here https://www.sahistory.org.za/people/dumile-feni and images of his extensive work here http://www.artnet.com/artists/dumile-feni-mhlaba-zwelidumile-mxgazi/ and here https://www.artsy.net/artist/dumile-feni.



(another) township manifesto


A short tribute to Zwelidumile Geelboi Mgxaji Mhlaba “Dumile” Feni






  • Genre: Performance Art
  • Format: Video
  • Duration: VARIOUS
  • Language: n/a
  • Ages: PG
  • Available From: July 5, 2020



Curator: Jay Pather
From an idea by: Stacy Hardy
Production Manager: Buntu Tyali



Nadia Beugré

Ivorian Beugré co-founded Béatrice Kombé’s groundbreaking, all-female dance ensemble, TchéTché. In 2009, she was accepted at Mathilde Monnier’s programme for choreographers at the Centre Chorégraphique National de Montpellier. Beugré developed an idiosyncratic oeuvre including works such as her 2012 piece Quartiers Libres, Legacy (2015) and Tapis Rouge (2017).  The New York Times wrote in praise of her work: ‘It’s harrowing, both in action and sound; Ms. Beugré knows how to make a crowd trust her just as, in a split second, she knows how to knock the air out of people…’ 

nora chipaumire

Born in Mutare, Zimbabwe and based in NYC, nora chipaumire has been challenging and embracing stereotypes of Africa, the black performing body, art and aesthetics since she started making dances in 1998.  chipaumire is currently touring “#PUNK 100% POP *N!GGA” a three-part live performance album which had its world premiere at The Kitchen in NYC in October 2018. Her other recent works include “Portrait of myself as my father” (2016), “Rite Riot” (2012) and “Miriam” (2012). She has been featured in several dance films and made her directorial debut with the short film “Afro Promo #1 King Lady” (2016). Her upcoming work will be an opera. Her long-term research project “nhaka,” a technology-based practice and process to her artistic work, instigates and investigates the nature of black bodies and the products of their imaginations. Bhuku 1 has partly been published as a digital book in 2018 and will soon be available in print, courtesy of Matadero Publishing house (Spain). chipaumire is a 2018 Guggenheim fellow, a four-time Bessie Award winner and recipient of the 2016 Trisha Mckenzie Memorial Award for her impact on the dance community in Zimbabwe.

Asanda Chuma Sopotela

Recently directed Dikgaruru for the Spiel Art Festival Munich, Asanda Chuma Sopotela is no newcomer to the National Arts festival. She is the recipient of the 2018 Standard Bank Young Artist for Performance Art . She returns to give us a tribute to Dumile Feni.
Anathi Sopotela studied at Zwelivumile S.S. in Xolobe.  He has made art since he was young. He pursued his studies in business management in Lovedale College, then studied Economics and Management Science at UNISA.  He is currently pursuing his own business in the Chemical industry and makes art part time.
Thembelani Diko went to Jongizizwe S.S.S in Luthuli,kwaNtesela. He is a freelancer.

Dorothée Munyaneza

Dorothée Munyaneza is rwandan and british living in Marseille.  As a multi disciplinary artist she employs music, text and movement to deal with rupture as a dynamic force, drawing from real stories seizing body, memory and our times to create a space of resonance.
Munyaneza has sang since her childhood. She trained at the Jonas Foundation in London, studying music and social sciences in Canterbury, she becomes certain that music was pivotal in her work. She composed and sang part of the soundtrack for the film Hotel Rwanda and she took part on the AfroCelt Sound System’s Anatomic album.
In 2006, she met François Verret and entered the contemporary dance scene.
Today she works with other artists such as Nan Goldin, Robyn Orlin, Bruce Clarke, Stéphanie Coudert, Maud Le Pladec, Seb Martel, Ben Lamar Gay, Rachid Ouramdane and Alain Buffard. She ventures between dance, poetry and experimental music with Alain Mahé, Jean-François Pauvros and Ko Murobushi.
In 2013 Dorothée Munyaneza creates her artistic company, Cie Kadidi and premiered her first choreographic piece Samedi Détente in November 2014 in Nîmes. In July 2017 at Festival d’Avignon, Dorothée Munyaneza sang her second full length work Unwanted.
She is currently preparing Mailles set for October 2020 at Charleroi Danse Biennale.
Dorothée Munyaneza is artist associate at Théâtre de la Ville in Paris.