What was your most important artistic achievement before you began participating in this programme?
I suppose it’s the writing of the playTshepangand my adaptation of theWays of Dying, a novel by Zakes Mda.
How did the mentoring year progress?
Peter and I started with dialogue and observation of his work. Then we went on to dialogue and observation of my work. After that we went further. He came to South Africa and saw the whole environment I work in. We spoke about the direction for specific projects of mine, including plays he has directed as well as a new play of my own.
What was the best part of being a Rolex protégée?
Time! Time to focus on my work. Also, receiving this honour raised the level of expectation I have for myself. That’s an important thing.
What was the single most important lesson or piece of advice your mentor gave you?
“You must write more!”
How do you think your work is similar to or different from your mentor’s? Was the similarity or difference a stimulus or a barrier to your relationship?
I felt like an artist who has only worked in watercolour who finds out you can also work with oil or with clay. You add more to what you know. You gain more skills than you’ve already acquired. The bottom line for me is that I’ve primarily worked with image and with the relationship between images and bodies onstage. Peter taught me to look at the relationships in words – to focus a lot more on that. Now I can concentrate on both at the same time.
Did you learn from your mentor any lessons beyond the practice of your art?
He’s a gentleman, and he’s really good with people, especially with the press. It’s not easy for me to speak about my work, to be articulate about it. And he’s so good at that. That was inspiring for me to see.
Can you describe in two or three sentences the most beneficial aspects, for you, of the mentoring year?
It doesn’t come easily to me to integrate with different international cultures. But a spin-off of the programme is that I made really good connections with people from different countries – in particular at the Gate Theatre in London. That’s a connection I think will be lasting.
Has your approach to theatre changed or developed during the mentoring experience?
Yes, it really has. Basically I’ve become much more responsive to form. And again, my expectations for myself have gotten higher. It’s given me more of a drive towards excellence.
Now that the mentoring year has ended, which direction will your artistic career take?
(Laughs!) Absolutely no idea!
Is there any other comment you would like to add?
When I was first chosen for the programme, I knew it was a great opportunity. But what surprised me is how much I’ve gained from it. It’s something I can’t measure or define, but I can tell how much it has affected me and is going to affect me. One wonders – without wanting to be sentimental – how to say thank you for this extraordinary thing Rolex is doing.