Manenye grooms future stars

Masedi Godfrey Manenye

Masedi Godfrey Manenye, former drama and theatre student from the University of the Free State, is using his experience to lecture drama and theatre students at the same university.
He told Voice: “I am working as a Drama and Theatre Arts lecturer at the Drama Department of the University of the Free State. I really love my work. I empower drama and theatre students with different skills in acting and movement. These students are the future stars who need to be groomed.”
He studied for a degree in drama and theatre at the University of the Free State from 2003 – 2006. He did his Honours in 2009 and went on to obtain his B.A. Master’s degree in Drama and Theatre. “Gerben Kamper was my lecturer when I was a drama and theatre student at the university. I remember while I was doing my first year, my lecturer saw me doing some exercises outside the class. The next day, while attending a class, Kamper asked me if I could do some exercises with his students for 30 minutes.
“The following week Kamper was late for class. I was in the same class with his daughter, Marijda. She told me her father wanted me to teach the students. My lecturer was the first person who recognised my talent. He negotiated further that I should take over the movement and acting class when I had completed my studies. My relationship with my lecturer was cemented. He saw my talent, recognised it and ushered it into the right direction.”
Manenye is also a playwright. “I wrote three plays, including It Won’t Hurt. The play is about a boy who was abused by his mother and by women who played cards in the same street he lived. It Won’t Hurt was performed in Sebokeng location, in Vereeniging. It touched a lot of people and the cast was invited to perform the play at many schools and community halls in Vereeniging. The cast members also nurtured the talent of other learners and students by organising them drama workshops at various schools.”
Manenye is also a theatre director of note. He directed two productions, Some Mothers’ Sons by Mike van Graan and Little Cadre, based on the novel London – Cape Town – Joburg by Zukiswa Wanner. The two productions were performed during the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown, Eastern Cape, in July 2016. “Some Mothers’ Sons is based on two characters. One a black man and the other a white man, who happen to be lawyers. They are also inmates who save each other. The novel addresses the politics of our country of that time and also focuses on the politics of today.” I adapted the novel for the stage.
Manenye also directed another production, My Muse: In the Healing Seasons, based on the poetry anthology by Hector Kunene and Nthabiseng “JahRose” Jafta. “In 2015 I met both poets. We planned to do some projects together. I adapted their anthology for stage, we started rehearsals on 18 June 2016 and the production was staged in the André Huguenet Theatre at Pacofs in Bloemfontein on 1 – 2 July 2016.”
Kunene said: “Manenye is much loved by all actors and theatre groups in the Free State. He has been working with me and my co-author, Nthabiseng “JahRose” Jafta, and directed our first play. Manenye’ s fascination has given birth to a great theatrical piece and we feel it is great to have worked with this theatre director of note.”
Manenye directed another production, Sophiatown, which was staged in the André Huguenet Theatre at Pacofs in Bloemfontein on 13 – 18 February 2016. “It took me ten years to put Sophiatown on stage. The play addresses our past history and promotes social cohesion and unity through dance, drama and music. The first production of Sophiatown was staged at the Market Theatre in Johannesburg in 1986. It was directed by Malcolm Purkey and the cast members were Thulani Nyembe, Ramolao Makhene, Nandi Nyembe, Nkhesani Manganyi, Arthur Molepo, Yael Farber and Patrick Shai.”
In March 2015, Manenye directed another production, Tears. In an article, Theatre To Make You Cry and Laugh, written by Raymondus de la Porte and published by The 411, he said: “As a man who lives for theatre, I hardly read anything other than plays. But after novelist Zukiswa Wanner visited the campus last year to promote her latest work (the novel, London – Cape Town – Joburg), I found myself drawn to the book – maybe because it touched on a lot of current and relevant issues.
“I immediately saw the potential for an adaptation. I bounced the idea off Zukiswa and she was delighted that somebody wanted to adapt her story for stage. And that’s where my journey with Tears started,” said Manenye.
He was born in Sharpeville location in Vereeniging and his childhood days were spent in the Sebokeng location in Vereeniging. He finished his primary education at Itsebeng Primary School and completed his matric at Kgutlotharo High School. He left Sebokeng location in 1999 and joined Flavious Mareka FET College in Sasolburg in the Free State where he studied psychology and social work subjects. – Flaxman Qoopane