Johannesburg. — The arts industry has reacted with shock to the dismissal of South African State Theatre (SAST) deputy director Mamela Nyamza.
Nyamza, an award-winning director and choreographer from Cape Town, joined the State Theatre in November last year.
She was fired last weekend.
Most dance and arts people have voiced their concerns and were worried that her dismissal will affect the Dance Umbrella programme that has given many young artists a platform to shine.
Nyamza posted a short statement on Facebook confirming her dismissal.
However, the talented dancer could no state the reasons behind her sacking.
“I am forced to issue a very short statement because I have just seen that my dismissal from the South African State Theatre is on social media already.”
“I want to confirm that I have been summarily dismissed by the South African State Theatre as its employee and from my post of deputy artistic director as from the 25th of November 2019. The matter is now sub-judice.”
Nyamza further made it clear that she will not be doing any interviews regarding the matter because it was still sub-judice.
Seasoned choreographer Gregory Maqoma said Nyamza’s dismissal was sending a strong signal that the long battle to have a dance curator in a state-funded institution was not yet a settled matter.
CEO of South African State Theatre Dr Sibongiseni Mkhize assured arts and dance activists that Nyamza’s dismissal had nothing to do with personal attacks.
He explained that Nyamza was dismissed because of the accusatory statement she made during an event in Cape Town at the end of July.
“She was fired for the speech she made during the opening of Dance Umbrella Africa, a collaboration project between SAST and Arts Cape. She made remarks that were untrue about Arts Cape, including wanting to challenge their board and accusing them of not having done their job in regards to publicising and marketing the event. The statements were untrue.”
“The termination of her contract has nothing to do with personal attacks, it has to do with accusatory statements about the partner of the program.”
“She went through the process, everything was done in line with all the policies of SAST.” — owetan.