Free Playwriting Masterclass Series

UJ Playwriting Masterclass Series

Following its successful 2020 UJ Playwriting Lab, UJ Arts & Culture, a division of the Faculty of Art, Design & Architecture (FADA) is proud to announce this year’s Playwriting Masterclass Series that will run from the end of April 2021.

The masterclass series is presented at no cost to all aspirant and established playwrights. Four professionals including Makhaola Ndebele, Princess Zinzi Mhlongo, Tlotlego Bonno Gaogakwe and Selloane Mokuku will cover a range of playwriting topics while Ilyana van Tonder and Andi Mgibantaka will join Arts & Culture’s Jade Bowers to discuss Intellectual Property (IP), Copyright and Publication.

Former Artistic Director of Joburg City Theatres, Makhaola Ndebele brings to the Masterclass series over 25 years of experience across various dramatic disciplines including acting, writing and directing for film, television and theatre. He has worked on a diverse range of projects including Nomzamo, Zone 14, Crossing the Line, Gaz’lam and Dube. In his masterclass, Ndebele will cover the essential elements of performative storytelling with particular emphasis on structure, conflict, and exposition.

Seasoned theatre director Princess Zinzi Mhlongo will take playwrights on the journey from page to stage, focusing on how a published script is brought to life for an audience with emphasis on the original intension of the playwright. Mhlongo has over 20 years of experience as a director. Her professional directing debut, And the girls in their Sunday dresses, met with critical acclaim both in South Africa and at the Edinburgh Festival and Afrovibes Festival in the United Kingdom. In 2010 she was selected as one of 12 theatre makers from across the world to participate in the Theatre Foreman Festival in Braunschweig, Germany. Following this, Princess was selected as one of four international young directors to take part in the Salzburg Austria Young Directors Project in 2012, where she showcased her production Trapped. In the same year she was awarded the Standard Bank Young Artist of the Year for Theatre 2012.

In his masterclass, Tlotlego Bonno Gaogakwe will explore some of the fundamentals of constructing effective characters; characters that not only allow the audience to become invested in the unfolding journey of the play, but also see some aspect of their own real joys, griefs and longings reflected to them – and in this small way leave the theatre at the end feeling a little more instructed in the things that make us human.

Gaogakwe is an English Language and Literature teacher from Gaborone and an avid participant in the world of theatre. He is a relentless advocate for theatre education and reform in Botswana. As a member and Chair of the Company@Maitisong committee he has sought to develop local talent and encourage theatrical quality. His writing credits include Afriqueer which was featured in the 2016 National Arts Festival and eventually won the Adelaide Tambo Award for Human Rights. His latest play, When things fall together, is being produced by Wits’ Drama for Life Theatre Collective and will debut at the end of April 2021.

Selloane Mokula is an experienced theatre maker, storyteller, academic, writer and performer. She has worked with and for young people internationally, through organisations such as UNICEF and Save the Children UK. Lalu is a board member of the International Association of Theatre for Children and Young People ASSITEJ (South Africa), a Drama for Life Alumni, the co-founder of the Winter Summer Institute, and former programme manager for Nobulali Productions (fondly known as ShakeXperience™). She is currently a Doctor Technologiae: Drama student at Tshwane University of Technology, South Africa. “I will tackle language to demonstrate how ways of knowing and being are rooted in language. Moreover, I will explore translanguaging to decentralise power of any language,” says Mokula.

The IP, Copyright and Publication masterclass will be set up as a joint discussion between Jade Bowers (who previously worked at DALRO in Theatrical Licensing), Ilyana van Tonder (an expert in Copyright and Licensing who previously managed DALRO) as well as Andi Mgibantaka (the CEO and owner of Junkets Publisher, a small independent publisher based in Cape Town, founded by Robin Malan). This discussion will delve into questions about how copyright works and how to look at publishing as an artist in South Africa.

Join us on this exciting journey of learning and discovery. Attendance is free to all. Click here to register


28 April Characterisation & Identity          Tlotlego Gaogakwe

5 May   From page to stage                         Princess Zinzi Mhlongo

12 May Action, Tension & Conflict            Makhaola Ndebele

19 May Dialogue & Language                      Selloane Mokuku

26 May IP, Copyright & Publication           Jade Bowers, Ilyana van Tonder and Andi Mgibantaka


About UJ Arts & Culture

UJ Arts & Culture, a division of the Faculty of Art, Design & Architecture (FADA), produces and presents world-class student and professional arts programmes aligned to the UJ vision of an international university of choice, anchored in Africa, dynamically shaping the future. A robust range of arts platforms are offered on all four UJ campuses for students, staff, alumni and the general public to experience and engage with emerging and established Pan-African and international artists drawn from the full spectrum of the arts.

In addition to UJ Arts & Culture, FADA ( offers programmes in eight creative disciplines, in Art, Design and Architecture, as well as playing home to the NRF SARChI Chair in South African Art & Visual Culture, and the Visual Identities in Art & Design Research Centre. The Faculty has a strong focus on sustainability and relevance, and engages actively with the dynamism, creativity and diversity of Johannesburg in imagining new approaches to art and design education.

Lakin Morgan-Baatjies
074 949 8579
University of Johannesburg Arts & Culture

Jade Bowers
Jade Bowers
Makhaola Ndebele
Makhaola Ndebele
Princess Zinzi Mhlongo
Princess Zinzi Mhlongo
Selloane Mokuku
Selloane Mokuku
Tlotlego Gaogakwe
Tlotlego Gaogakwe