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PRESS: Tankiso Mamabolo & Kitso Seti in COMMON GROUND at Baxter

Fahiem Stellenboom


Dynamic young artists, Tankiso Mamabolo and Kitso Seti Tata KaSmiles, team up for a brand-new production, COMMON GROUND, a collaborative exploration using music, spoken word and randomly placed conversations between two friends, at the Baxter Masambe Theatre, from 2 to 6 May 2023.

They are joined on stage by two live musicians in a reflection of millennials who are quickly approaching 30. In a time where individualism is putting a strain on artists, Tankiso and Kitso have decided to come together to create new avenues for inspiration and find common ground.

Performed in English, isiXhosa and seSotho, the vibrant duo look at the reimagination of self in moving forward, to find a new form of self.

Both their respective artforms have been known to reflect or speak on societal issues affecting young black ambitious artists and themes around the ‘being of blackness’ and a young person in South Africa today.

Tankiso offers an alternative sound in her music with hints of afro-folk, soul, and jazz. She is able to combine her sense of humour with the deep vulnerability and melancholy found in her music, giving her audiences a fully rounded journey from joy and triumph to sorrow and tears.

Kitso’s work is brave, cutthroat, and confrontational. He has the ability to initiate conversation about issues that are usually whispered about, putting a mirror in front of his audiences, forcing them to confront parts of themselves they would otherwise avoid facing.

Tankiso is an actor, songwriter, musician and award-winning playwright. She was seen at The Baxter, in recent years, in Marc Lottering’s hit productions Aunty Merle, The Musical and Aunty Merle, Things Get Real, the internationally acclaimed, The Fall, Tankiso Live and What’s Your Budget with Daniel Mpilo Richards.

The 2015 UCT Drama graduate in Performance Art, co-wrote and performed in the renowned The Fall, which gained international recognition, winning top awards locally and at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival as well as being put on the New York Times’ critic’s choice list.

She has worked with prolific directors which include John Kani, Lara Foot, Nwabisa Plaatjie and Amy Jephta.

“I am always interested in the relationship and the connection between two performers on stage,” says Tankiso, “the one thing that Kitso and I have in common is our satirical and humorous approach and outlook on the difficulties of life and the things we often struggle to speak about.”

She continues, “We’ve been wanting to do this for a long time, so I'm overjoyed that we’re finally getting a chance to do this.”

Kitso holds a master’s degree in politics at the University of Cape Town. His research is focused on how Black (Consciousness) theatre can be used to conscientise people and make sense of Black positionality in the world.

From 2014 he became involved with theatre at the Res4Res Festival which won an Innovative Play award and later he produced Imbawula, which won the Best Writer and Best Innovative Play. His new play, Four Fathers: Bananas for the Baboons was staged at The Baxter in 2022. It was selected for staging from the Masambe Writing Residency at the Baxter Theatre, under the supervision of Lara Foot, the CEO of the Baxter and Nwabisa Plaatjie.

Outside of academia, he moonlights as an artist - from rapping to theatre-making. He began doing Hip Hop, Spaza, in 2007 and released his first project eKhayelitsha, in 2018, followed by Lot’s Wife: The Curse of Hoza and Ngxobongwana. In 2020 he released his live room session on YouTube, From the Books of Jeremiah: A Young Black Laments and participated with a band to produce the live concert, Phuman’ Ebhabhiloni.

Kitso was part of the cast of Dipalo which won the bronze medal in the Standing Ovation awards of the 2021 National Arts Festival. He runs a journal called .ngaphakathi. where he writes theatre reviews.

COMMON GROUND comes to the Baxter Masambe Theatre for one week only from 2 to 6 May a 7.30pm. There is an age restriction of 16 years. Tickets are R150 and booking is through Webtickets online at Webtickets or at Pick n Pay stores.


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