Our very own Ukhona set to continue where Tanya leaves off

Posted: March 11, 2010 in Kennedy Center
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So, if you have been paying attention, you’ll know our Company Director will be finishing her 3-year Fellowship at the Kennedy Center this July.  What you might not know is that Ukhona Mlandu-Letsika, FTH:K’s Chairperson and Manager of Artscape’s Resource Centre, was recently selected for the programme.  This means that while Tanya’s programme ran from 2008 – 2010, Ukhona will pick up in 2010 and continue until 2012.  How cool is that?!  And one of the most exciting things about this, apart from the fact that they are as much friends as industry colleagues, is that both Tanya and Ukhona remain committed to the development of Arts Managers in South Africa.  They both share the opinion that one of the things holding the SA theatre industry back is a dearth of people trained to take care of the business of the arts.  And with the Kennedy Center’s training and experience behind them, they’re bound to be a pretty formidable team.  Watch this space for details!

But until then, read what Zane Henry had to say about it in the CAPE ARGUS Tonight on Tuesday, 9 March:

IT’S SECOND TIME LUCKY FOR TALENTED YOUNG PLAYWRIGHT

Cape Argus 9 March 2010UKHONA Mlandu-Letsika, Artscape Resource Manager and chairwoman of FTH: K’s Executive Committee is leaving on a jet-plane. She has been selected to take part in the three-year Summer International Fellowship Programme at the John F Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington DC.

It is a prestigious programme that provides practical experience and instruction to up to 20 managers currently working in international non-profit performing arts organisations.

This full-time, four-week intensive programme takes place in July and includes classes, seminars and practical work experience in the centre’s fundraising and marketing departments. Individuals selected for this programme will return to the Kennedy Center for ongoing professional development for a total of three summer sessions.

“This was the second time that I applied,” Mlandu-Letsika says.

“They conducted this weird, very short telephonic interview. They asked me a question and I went on and on and then they were like, ‘thank you, we have to go now’. I was sure that was it, no chance. But then I got this very official looking e-mail, and I was selected. I couldn’t work for the rest of the day. I don’t think that it’s quite sunken in yet. It’s kind of a big deal,” she laughs.

Mlandu-Letsika is looking forward to implementing what she will learn over there when she returns home.

“Around the world, people are concerned about the sustainability of the arts. The Kennedy Center has managed to successfully deal with many of the issues, so there’s definitely something to be learned.”

Before she leaves, Mlandu-Letsika will have her first play performed at the Baxter Theatre

Ikhwezi Festival on March 12. The play is called Zithin’indaba (it’s in English) and is directed by Lefa Letsika. It deals with class differences, cultural legacies and family relations.

I’ve always known that I’ve had a writer in me, but I just never had enough time to get it done,” she says. “But I set myself a deadline and stuck to it.”

The festival features 12 new works that have sprung from developmental roots.

· The Ikhwezi Theatre Festival runs daily from March 11 to 20 at the Baxter Theatre. Tickets are R35 from Computicket.

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