Kamogelo Molobye

Lecturer
Academic
Choreographer
Performer
Researcher
Writer

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Personal Statement

I am an artist and thinker whose main intention is to  challenge and develop creative, professional and new modes of knowledge production. Key to my work and interest is developing critical and reflexive skills within emergent arts and performance institutions. 
My research interests include gender and sexuality studies, performance studies, cultural studies, and choreographic practice and language.
The work that I have done, and continue to do, enables me to participate in cooperative, communicative, creative, and leadership positions that require adaptability, reflectivity, and problem-solving strategies within the arts industry and economies - artistically, theoretically and institutionally.

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Choreographed Productions and Performances

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Lefetlho, Rhodes University Drama Department

October 2014

Lefetlho is inspired by the notion of an African Contemporary Dance. It is an exploration into the fusion of numerous dance styles - drawing choreographic insight from both Western and South African dance forms. The practice is influenced by ritual (sangoma) and/or traditional (Setswana) dance, black popular dance forms, and contemporary dance. Lefetlho is a piece that celebrates the initiation process of an individual, the performer, and showcases their learnt skills.

This work was investigating the
ways in which the skin not only becomes a signifier of race – due to skin colour – but also a surface of exchange between ourselves and the world that surrounds us. This is to say that the skin and our surrounding environment imbue us with layers of memories and sensations that
become attached to the skin.

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Encounters, Detours Festival

May 2015

Encounters is a physical performance showcased during the Detours Festival - Wits University. The performance seeks to excavate happenings that arise when two strangers with similar existential struggles find themselves in the same space. With Blackness being a fragile, fluid, and fickle subject to define, it further becomes challenging when thrust into the mix are complexities of what it means to be a black young man and a black young female. The socio-cultural gender issues that are related to race are never brought into dialogue together. Encounters seeks to physically embody the tensions and clashes that result when these issues are discussed in isolation from one another, then thrust in the same space where each has to find their belonging.

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A(void), Rhodes University Drama Department

June 2015

A(void) is a physical performance that seeks to explore the void that exists in speaking about manhood, and the ways in which discussions of manhood avoid dialogues that seek to make evident the inadequacies of manhood. 
In this work my intention was the interrogating manhood and homosexuality. 
The transition from being a boy to becoming a man is one that is known as ‘manhood’. This is a period at which man is expected to possess and perform traits that solidify his manhood—to perform masculinity. One is expected to have vigour in their walk, strength in their handshake, ruggedness in their dress, robustness in speech.
Anything left of centre of this manhood and masculinity becomes a threat: something deviant to the secret society understanding and practice of manhood. Anything left of centre of hyper-masculinity becomes ‘othered’.
A(void) is a physical performance that seeks to explore the void that exists in speaking about manhood, and the ways in which discussions of manhood avoid dialogues that seek to make evident the inadequacies of manhood. There is a void that exists in definitions of manhood and masculinity, while at the same time there is an avoidance of issues such as homosexuality that supposedly threaten manhood and masculinity.

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Ga(y)me(n)Play, Grahamstown National Arts Festival

July 2016

In a time where manhood and masculinity lacks a language to fully realise and define itself, Ga(y)me(n)Play is a physical theatre performance that seeks to explore the nuanced images of a man through vulnerability and intimacy that challenges stereotypes of masculinities.

Ga(y)me(n)Play – pronounced as either ‘Game Play’ or ‘Gay Men Play’ – is a physical performance that interrogates and discusses issues of masculinities in South Africa. The production concerns itself with the questioning and disrupting of the imaginings, understandings and definitions of masculine identities and their (re)presentations, both in social interaction and in theatre spaces.
As a collaborative work between the choreographer and the performers, the production seeks to reveal the conceptual underpinnings and creative practice that draw together
dance/theatre/performance referencing social behaviour and theatrical (re)action. The performance stems from an engaged process of discussion and physical interrogation – that which reveal stereotypes surrounding gender and sexuality issues, and idiosyncrasies by
performers themselves in response to their social behaviours relating to masculinities. The physical theatre performance (re)examines and destabilises classifications of men/women, the framing of masculinities, and the consequent role play in private (the human/personal need for touch/contact/intimacy) and public spaces (for sports/play/games/performance).
The integration of space, design/costume, and choreography in the production proposes an illuminating experience into the conceptual and artistic journey of a pursuit for differentiated masculinities. Ga(y)me(n)Play tackles notions of social interaction, performing gender, desire
and intimacy, performing maleness and masculinites, through a performed and embodied physical theatre experience.

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Traces, Botswana, Dance Residency by ProHelvetia Swiss Arts Council 

November 2015

Traces was a 5 day Residency followed up by 1 performance event.  The project was between the Re-defined Theatre Collaborative (South Africa) - made up of Kamogelo Molobye and Maipelo Gabang - and the Mophato Theatre Dance (Botswana). The residency process had as its focal point the themes and concepts of the physical performance piece. Therefore, the work served as a catalyst and provides a trajectory for workshop themes and plans and the training program for the dancers, among many other things.

 The impetus for the project was to promote and engage in skills exchange, provide training as well as share and expose the surrounding community to quality contemporary physical performance. The Re-defined Theatre Collaborative re-worked and merged ideas and movement vocabulary from two existing pieces within the repertoire to form the new work that is now referred to as Traces. This work was created prior to taking it to Botswana with 6 performers in mind, the 2 members of Re-defined and the remaining members from Mophato Dance Theatre. With that said, even though the work was made ahead of time there was space within certain sections of the piece which made it possible for a collaborative and inclusion of ideas and performance from the varied performers of the Mophato Dance Theatre. As such, the pre-existing vocabulary and sections acted as a scaffolding to guide and build for the additional performers.

 As stated above, the Mophato Dance Theatre performers were then taken through a training program, rehearsals and workshops that were specific to the production process and directed at generating movement language and vocabulary. The movement language created was particular to the production but specific to each individual, having been sourced from the performers’ bodies and each of their creative responses to the workshop process.

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Ga(y)me(n)Play, Institute for Creative Arts, Cape Town

March 2017

In a time where manhood and masculinity lacks a language to fully realise and define itself, Ga(y)me(n)Play is a physical theatre performance that seeks to explore the nuanced images of a man through vulnerability and intimacy that challenges stereotypes of masculinities.

Ga(y)me(n)Play – pronounced as either ‘Game Play’ or ‘Gay Men Play’ – is a physical performance that interrogates and discusses issues of masculinities in South Africa. The production concerns itself with the questioning and disrupting of the imaginings, understandings and definitions of masculine identities and their (re)presentations, both in social interaction and in theatre spaces.
As a collaborative work between the choreographer and the performers, the production seeks to reveal the conceptual underpinnings and creative practice that draw together
dance/theatre/performance referencing social behaviour and theatrical (re)action. The performance stems from an engaged process of discussion and physical interrogation – that which reveal stereotypes surrounding gender and sexuality issues, and idiosyncrasies by
performers themselves in response to their social behaviours relating to masculinities. The physical theatre performance (re)examines and destabilises classifications of men/women, the framing of masculinities, and the consequent role play in private (the human/personal need for touch/contact/intimacy) and public spaces (for sports/play/games/performance).
The integration of space, design/costume, and choreography in the production proposes an illuminating experience into the conceptual and artistic journey of a pursuit for differentiated masculinities. Ga(y)me(n)Play tackles notions of social interaction, performing gender, desire
and intimacy, performing maleness and masculinites, through a performed and embodied physical theatre experience.

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Mokoko, Theatreformen Festival, Braunschweig, Germany

June 2018

Mokoko was a Staatstheatre commissioned residency production performed in Braunschweig during the Theatreformen Festival. The production was a physical theatre performance in the form of a duet co-choreographed and performed by Kamogelo Molobye and Nomcebisi Moyikwa. The production explored the binary themes of gender and construction alongside South African cultural and traditional themes of gender construction.
We are socialized human beings. The ways we grow to perceive and understand the world around us and the ways in which we engage with it is as a result of a lineage of social and cultural constructions that can be traced as far as childhood.
The games we play as children contribute to the ways in which we read the world and formulate meanings about various forms of performativity. This is to say that children learn various socio-cultural roles and skills from playing.
Childhood games and play have something “at play” within them. It is these meanings, intended or not, at play that are deeply embedded in childhood games that the physical theatre and choreographic production was interested in exploring.
Mokoko (directly translated as ‘chicken’ but in the game is loosely translated as ‘hide and seek’) is a childhood game played in the Setswana culture. In the game one player counts up to an agreed number (usually 10) while the other players go hide. At the end of the counting the hidden players will have to be sought after until found. The production wanted to apply the game of ‘hide and seek’ as a framework to explore the social, cultural and gendered ways that childhood games construct one’s upbringing.
Children imitate the nuclear family by playing house and reinforce it by creating games that invite a heteronormative understanding of relationships through games such as the one sung above. These games, along with many others, embrace a way of knowing through childhood game entertainment that subtly investigates and/or embodies aspect of social learning. This was the point of interest for the production Mokoko.

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From the day of arrest, Nelson Mandela Foundation, Johannesburg

September 2018

From the day of Arrest was a collaborative multi-medium production commissioned by the Nelson Mandela Foundation. The production made use of installations, exhibitions, video footage, voice clips and recordings, and physical performance. The intention of the production was to explore the telling of historical events and narratives that centres the body as the storyteller to texture and nuance the (re)telling of South African historical narratives.

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Display Cases, Museum Conversations 2019, Windhoek, Namibia

March 2019

Museums are space with a vital role of collecting, preserving, and presenting cultural and historical materials and artefacts in order to produce knowledge in educating the public about how it is a product of its past. However, much of what is displayed in museums leaves the observer without an engaged interaction with the artefacts that are placed and located within the walls of the museum. The artefacts, cultures, and history(ies) embedded within the museum remain vulnerable to a lack of adequate exploration about their history and contribution towards society(ies) due to the passivity of audience engagement within museum spaces. It is important to ask, what is the look and role of museums in contemporary Africa that engages with the practice of historical and cultural knowledge in relation to self-knowledge?
Display Cases is a collaborative embodied experience by three black artists that considers what it means to be and belong within a society that places one under constant observation and inspection due to race, class, gender, and sexual orientation. John Creswell states, “a body can act as a container of experience that contributes effectively to its inherent memorability” (2004: 86). This is to say that, like museums, bodies act as spaces and sites of social, cultural and historical knowledge that seeks to understand itself through relational processes of becoming.
The artistic intervention seeks to disrupt the passive, distanced, and observation culture in museums through proposing a practice of embodied experience towards new social and cultural epistemologies that interact with museum spaces. It is a call to propose a bridge between still history as captured and displayed through the materials and artefacts in museums with the moving nature of the body in order to encourage a self-knowing that is aware of who one is in relation to where they are and come from.
The Display Cases collaboration applies the principles of Gloria E. Anzaldúa’s notion of ‘autohistoria’ which is a critical reflexivity genre of writing the self through personal and collective historical elements in order to create meaning-making of oneself in collaboration with other forms and platforms of meaning-making (such as museums). Important to the project is the understanding that Josė Medina provides in the notion of a relational form of knowing that furthers the understanding of autohistoria. Medina describes this relational aspect of self-knowledge as becoming aware of who one is and where one comes from in relation to different social groups and social locations (Medina, 2012: 53). The articulation of living and embodied history(ies) within museum spaces, such as the Display Cases collaboration, is important through providing a lens from which audiences can imagine and associate their social, cultural, and historical experiences and vulnerabilities. This can be achieved through an active engagement with those narrated histories that are not only observed through artefacts and objects on display, but also through embodied performances that create new ways of knowing and meaning making.

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Hai-yi, siphi? - Theatre Activism, Pretoria State Theatre

November 2019

Hai-yi, siphi? is a physical theatre collaboration between four artists that seeks to explore the nuances of unspoken forms of violence on women and children in South Africa. Violence manifests itself in multiple ways, forms, and faces, and yet the violence that seems to find a face is that which is predominantly seen and not heard - physical violence.
Hai-yi, sipho? explores the intrusive nature of catcalling that happens in our contemporary 2019 society. A stranger identifies you from the crowd, lurking and ghostly walking behind you, craving for your attention. This experience is familiar—you have been in this position before. Your sense of awareness is heightened when suddenly a hand grabs hold of you. “Hello”. Uninvited.
The piece locates itself in various spaces where human interaction and an array of relations exist. We mirror society by depicting the act of catcalling, critically assessing its absurdities and the violent energy of it all.
Public spaces of movement in South Africa are not safe. Streets, clubs, places of eating, and taxi stations hold the most nuanced forms of violence such as catcalling, exploitative and sexualising gazes, and the policing of bodies. Siphi? is a questioning between two men on where they position and place themselves within the violence that occurs in society. How are men implicit in either perpetuating the violence that exists – through activity participating in said violence, or passively looking away or not reprimanding it?

To discuss the projects I have worked on, contact me on my email address: kamzmolobye@gmail.com

 
Workspace

Publications and Conference Presentations

Confluences 8 Conferene

16-18 July 2015

Dance and Theatre Conference hosted by the University of Cape Town, School of Dance, where I presented a paper for publishing titled - Now you see me, now you don't: exploring the incongruity of dancing skin.

Dancing the African Diapora: Considerations for Afro-Futurism

Dance and research conference hosted by Duke University, School of Dance, North Carolina, Durham, where I presented a paper titled - Then you will see me: Afro-Futurism and the incongruent dancing skin

19-21 February 2016

Mail & Guardian Friday

Published an opinion article titled - What does it mean to be a man?

23-29 October 2015

Cue Newspaper

3 July 2016

Article written by Ashleigh Dean titled - Kamogelo Molobye - Playing the game but by whose roles: redefining masculinity through intimacy and vulnerability

University of Johannesburg LGBT+ Summit

Presented a paper titled "The mediated construction and re-construction of gender: strategising social transformation through stakeholder cultivation, engagement and activation in South Africa."

September 2018

AFDA Johannesburg Research Colloquium

Presented a paper titled "Gender inclusivity and exclusivity: a consideration of gender and sexuality representation in institutions of higher education in South Africa."

October 2018

Our Queer Stories

February 2018

Published an article with a queer online magazine titled "On whose behalf are you coming out?"

Our Queer Stories

October 2017

Published an article with a queer online magazine titled "In pursuit of a differentiated Black township masculinity."

AFEMS 2019 Conference

Presented a paper during the African Feminism Conference, hosted at the University of the Witwatersrand, titled "Black Queer Feminism and the Questioning of Being and Belonging."

September 2019

 

Professional History

My Roles & Responsibilities

Graduate Assistant, Rhodes University Drama Department

2014-2016

Assisting with the administrative co-ordination of the undergraduate drama 1 and 2 courses.

Responsibilities included the processing of student enrollment; the processing of Leave of Absence applications; the marking of student semester assignments; and liaising between students, tutors, and lecturers.

Undergraduate Tutor, Rhodes University Drama Department

2015-2016

Teaching undergraduate 1 and 2 practical assessments for semester and yearly course practice requirements. These consisted of Drama 1 Movement classes to teach principles of movement and dance; and Voice classes teaching vocal training with Lessac and Fitz Morrison techniques.

Student Lecturer, Rhodes University Drama Department

October 2016

Teaching a week lecture series on theatrical transgressions for Drama 2 undergraduate students. The focus of the lecture series was on Mamela Nyamza: The Body As Text - contemporary conversations on black female bodies and queer politics.

Internship, Department of Sports, Arts, Culture and Recreation - Johannesburg

2017

Working for the Creative Arts Unit with a specific focus on Arts in Schools programming that focused on arts teaching and facilitation in the artistic disciplines of dancing, acting, and singing.

External Examinations, University of KwaZulu Natal - Pietermaritzburg; and University of Witwatersrand - Johannesburg

2018 - 2020

Providing oral and written examination feedback for the Honours students’ choreography examinations.

Production Course Lecturer, AFDA - Johannesburg

2018

Researching and lecturing content on the theory and practice of creative industries specific to South Africa in the arts mediums and platforms of Film, Television and Live Performance under the Production Course Department.

Movement Studies and Physical Theatre Convener and Lecturer, University of Witwatersrand - Johannesburg

2019 - to date

Coordinating and facilitating the administration of course outlines and development of movement studies, physical theatre, and choreographic studies. Lecturing movement studies in 1st and 2nd year, and choreographic practice and studies in 4th year.

 

Educational Experience

B.Arts Undergrad, Rhodes University

Majored in Drama; Politics and International Relations; Industrial Sociology

2010-2013

B.Arts Honours, Rhodes University

Honours postgraduate with Rhodes University Drama Department - with Distinction and Academic Colours, specialising in Choreography and Contemporary Performance

2014

B.Arts Masters, Rhodes University

Masters of Arts with Rhodes University Drama Department, specialising in Choreography and Movement Research

2015 - 2016

 

"We are not black on most days, women on other days, lesbian on public holidays and transgender in leap years: we are all of these things at the same time"

Panashe Chingumadzi

 

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