Pest Control

Mamela Nyamza

Mamela Nyamza is a dance artist and activist hell-bent on exposing the sordid underbelly of the bureaucratic aspects of arts and culture in her native country South Africa. Her numerous acts of protests for transformation and equality in the arts sector have meant experiencing and being exposed to untoward practices as both an arts practitioner as well as a former employee of a public art institution. She is choreographer as catalyst and often the changes wrought are uncomfortable ones. Not one to be curtailed by critique or censure, she once again presents commentary on the state of the broader arts sector, not confined solely to dance. The gendered aspect of subservience is interrogated in Pest Control which aims to expose the real state of the arts in South Africa. This unvarnished presentation of a sordid environment where cronyism and nepotism are rife and arts practitioners ,at odds with this malignant system, are screwed. A miscarriage. An injustice. Pest Control addresses these mutually beneficial ‘friendships’, where kowtowing artists are advanced at the expense of the arts sector. Is there an antidote, or is the only response a poisonous one to the decaying rot infesting the sector.

  • Genre: Protest Art, Dance, Film
  • Format: Video
  • Duration: 35mins
  • Language: English, with isiXhosa exclamations
  • Ages: PG13+
  • Available From: June 26, 2020
Content no longer available.


Conceptualised, choreographed and directed by Mamela Nyamza

Performed by: Mamela Nyamza
Featured Artist (Musician): Azah Mphago
Lighting & Set Designer: Wilhelm Disbergen
Camera & Graphic Designer: Ntombazana Shabangu
Digital Media Creative: katty vandenberghe


Mamela Nyamza
The award-winning and internationally acclaimed choreographer and art activist, Ms. Mamela Nyamza, got her formal training in Ballet (acquired National Diploma in Ballet at the Tshwane University of Technology in 1997), and her related experiences at the Alvin Ailey New York School of Dance as the visiting scholar, encouraged Ms Nyamza to tackle the classical genre of dance, by unapologetically demystifying and deconstructing both the traditional methods and logic of ballet. Her groundbreaking works, “The Dying Swan” – innovation in the dance in 1998; “Hatched” – against patriarchy in 2007, “The Meal” – against elitist ballet in 2012, and collaborated work “The Last Attitude” – against gender inequality in the dance in 2015, are autobiographical pieces of work that trample on the norms and standards of the classics. Ms Nyamza other works include: “19-BORN 76-REBELS” – against youth discrimination and poverty; “I STAND CORRECTED” – against homophobia and hate crimes; “WENA MAMELA” – against gate keeping in the arts; “DE- APART-HATE” – against inhumanity and violence in society; “PHUMA-LANGA” – against cultural and ethnic domination; “BLACK PRIVILEGE” – against institutional injustices and the dishonouring of women; and the newest work: “PEST CONTROL” – miscarriage of justice within the arts formalized institutions. These are all work-pieces that deal with important political and societal issues of today’s South Africa. Ms Nyamza had received numerous nominations for awards, and went on to receive the following awards and achievements: (i) being chosen as the Featured Artist of the Grahamstown Standard Bank National Arts Festival 2018, a first of its kind for the Dance Art Genre; (ii) being awarded the FNB Dance Indaba Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Dancer in Contemporary Style for “THE DYING SWAN” in 2000; (iii) being chosen in 2011 as the Standard Bank Young Artist for the DANCE; (iv) Oprah Winfrey Magazine choosing Ms Nyamza as one of the Women of the Year in 2013; and (v) In 2016, being awarded the IMBOKODO Award for DANCE. Ms Nyamza was also identified by the DAILY REVIEW of Australia as one of the 30 International Artists to track in 2018, that are positively changing the world. This Daily Review said: “They are out there contributing toward peace, making work in conflict zones, growing understanding and awareness, facing misrepresentation, and organising for social change”: Shawn Lent, January 19, 2018 in Furthermore, Ms Nyamza was recently invited to take part in the Dance Future 11: Focus Pina Bausch 2017 in Germany, where the iconic and visionary dancer, Pina Bausch, was celebrated and commemorated. Ms Nyamza’s vision is to make DANCE, as the genre of the performance art, to convey body politics on all social issues, and not to just entertain. Ms Nyamza’s ultimate goal is to reach the most remote areas of South Africa to unearth young, raw talent in the art of DANCE and other Performing Arts.

katty vandenberghe
katty vandenberghe is a digital media creative who works as a visual artist, media activist and designer. Starting out with a Bachelor of Science degree she opted for a career in graphic design, initiating a second degree in Visual Arts, and specialising in digital media. Using her digital media skills she collaborates with creatives in the visual arts, theatre and animation context. As a media activist she supports non-profit art collectives & socio-political movements in the LGBTQI+, gender and environmental arena.

Azah Mphago
Tinyiko Mpho Mphago wa Mabasa also professionally known as Azah is a multi-Instrumentalist, composer, producer, musical director cultural activist, educator and Philanthropist from the South African Jazz capital Mamelodi in Pretoria. He is a brilliant, versatile and multitalented musician and is known as one of the finest South African percussionists of our generation – and for good reason. Born onto a family of traditional healers, he began playing drums at the age of 8, and formed a decidedly passionate bond with drums and percussion as not only healing instruments but also as a way of artistic and spiritual expression.

Wilhelm Disbergen
Wilhelm Disbergen is a prolific theatre designer whose work has been seen in Europe and on all the major South African stages. He has received a number of Naledi Theatre Awards, and in 2018 added a Fleur du Cap award for lighting design. In dance, for the Cape Town City Ballet, he has lit their last six seasons, including SWINGTIME AT THE BALLET, AMARANTH, SATORI, SLEEPING BEAUTY, and A CHRISTMAS CAROL. For the Joburg Ballet, he designed BIG CITY, BIG DREAMS, WHISPERS OF MY SOUL, and THE NUTCRACKER. WHISPERS was his third collaboration with celebrated French choreographer Redha Benteifour, following REDHA’S GISELLE and CRASHDANCE. He has worked extensively with many dance companies like the Cape Dance Company (notable choreographers include Jose Agudo, Christopher L Huggins, and Mthuthuzeli November) and Moving Into Dance (with choreographers Oscar Buthelezi, Rachel Erdos, Sylvia Glasser, Mark Hawkins, Mandla Sunnyboy Mutau Ntuli, and Sonja Radebe among others). In 2018 he designed BLACK PRIVILEGE for Mamela Nyamza at the National Arts Festival. The work was subsequently acclaimed Cape Town, Johannesburg, and major European dance centres. His most recent collaboration with Jessica Nupen, THE NOSE, was about to open at Kampnagel in Hamburg when COVID-19 forced its cancellation.

Ntombazana Shabangu
Ntombi Shabangu was born and raised in Pretoria, Mamelodi. She attended Cullinan Combined High School and fell in love with capturing art through the lens at school. She later majored in film and broadcasting at Boston Media House. She has documented many productions, including stage and live performances and designing artwork for artists like Azah, Naftali, Thabang Tabane, Fifi, Ayanda Sikade among many. As a vibrant and autonomous artist, Ntombi uses her camera lens as her weapon of expression to archive protest art. She is a deep thinker who enjoys creativity that bridges the past and the future reimagined. The Neo World where art will be the salvation for humanity.