Methodist Church Hall • Cnr Milton Road and Wesley Street • Observatory • 7925 • Cape Town

African Gothic

Written by Reza DE WET | Directed by Amee LEKAS | Sound, Set and Costume Design by Nell VAN DER MERWE | Performed by Siyamthanda BANGANI, Karli HEINE, Elton LANDREW and Celeste MATTHEWS WANNENBURGH | Presented by the Theatre Arts Emerging Theatre Directors Bursary 2023

After the horrifc death of Ma and Pa, Frikkie and Sussie receive a visit from Grové their beloved aunt Rikkie's lawyer. "Standard procedure," he explained to them. The visit quickly turns into a nightmare .....

"I chose African Gothic because Reza De Wet wrote this play in a time when it was unheard of to talk about something so dangerous but real. She exposed something that probably gave many people sleepless nights. She confronted them with the truth.

As a theatre maker and Dramatic Arts Educator, that is what is expected of us. If we don't do it, we are fraudulent. 

I am just following by example. That's why I chose to work with a diverse team. We are people from different backgrounds, cultures, ethnicities, time, and different training. It's important for me to remind us artists to see the possibilities to work with different artists. People you would have never thought you would have worked with. 

But most of all, I wanted to prove to my learners that they can tell any story they relate to while working with anyone who is willing to be brave with them."

Photos by Jeremeo Le Cordeur and Dan Meyers.

Poster design by Warren Turner.

With thanks to Lara Foot and The Baxter Theatre.

The Theatre Arts Emerging Theatre Directors Bursary 2023/24 has been made possible by the National Arts Council, the Presidential Employment Stimulus Package (PESP), WoordFees and the KKNK.

The Theatre Arts Emerging Theatre Directors Bursary

The Emerging Theatre Directors Bursary was initiated by Caroline Calburn of Theatre Arts in 2010 to support the many young and talented directors who are entering into the theatre industry, but with very little opportunity to practice their craft.  This bursary serves as an opportunity for young directors to continue to develop their skills, be mentored in the creation of a new piece of work, to have their work seen by a wider audience, and to help establish them in the profession of directing. Amee Lekas is the 26th young director to receive this award.  In her cohort she is joined by Andi Colombo, with a first-time runner up in Sohail Booise.


AMEE LEKAS - winner of the Theatre Arts Emerging Theatre Directors Bursary 2023 - is a passionate theatre practitioner who believes in the power of theatre.  She completed her BA Drama and PGCE at the University of Stellenbosch and started her career in theatre as an actress and later, in Bloemfontein, as a director. However, she is better known for writing the play Die Dans Van Die Watermeid which was a Teksmark winner and was commissioned by The Baxter Theatre. Amee lives in Cape Town, where she teaches Dramatic Arts at Good Hope Seminary High School.  Her new mission is to have more young people interested in theatre and teaching them how to use it to bring about social change.

Siyamthanda Bangani is an actor, voice artist and filmmaker. In 2021 he starred in two shows which had a season at the Baxter Theatre - Heads or Tail(s) directed by Robyn September and Ganga Nyoko! Inzima Nyoko! directed by Siphenathi Siqwayi, and for which he was nominated, alongside his co-star Sbuja Dywili, as the Best New Ensemble at the 57th Fleur Du Cap Theatre Awards. Late in 2021 he produced and starred in a film titled Life Happened , released in 2022 which is currently streaming on Amazon Prime Video and VIU. Currently he is pursuing his Advanced Certificate in Acting for Camera at ACT Cape Town.

Karli Heine matriculated from Durbanville High School in 2009. She obtained her BDram Honors in Cabaret at the University of Stellenbosch in 2013. Karli won the KykNet Fiesta for best supporting actress for her role as Bybie in Reza de Wet's "Op Dees Aarde" in 2013 and was nominated for best actress for her role as Heidi in "Heidi" 2017. Karli won a Kanna-award in 2016 for her role as Gertruida in "Hensop!" and was nominated in 2022 for best supporting actress as Vincent in "Met liefde, Vincent" at WoordFees. Since 2013, she has played in many stage productions including cabarets and children's productions and can be seen in television series including Buurtwag, Die Spreeus, Die Boekklub, Die Byl en Lui Maar Op, Belinda as well as various short films, radio dramas and sequels. Karli currently lives in Cape Town and works on a freelance basis as an actress, voice artist and props master.

Celeste Matthews Wannenburgh is a playwright and award-winning stage, television, voice, and film actress active since 1995. She appeared on German and French television in various roles between 2003 and 2007, cameoed in S3 of British TV’s Mad Dogs (2013), and has featured in dozens of South African series, radio dramas, plays, and films over the last 28 years. She is best known for her roles as ‘Gertie Cupido’ in kykNET & kie's Arendsvlei and ‘Hester’ in David Kramer and Taliep Petersen's award-winning 2002 revival of District Six: The Musical. Her most recent stage performances were in Jason Jacobs’ (director) Tjieng Tjang Tjerries at the 2018 US Woordfees and his production of Amee Lekas' Dans van die Watermeid performed at the Baxter and the 2018 KKNK. She won a Fleur du Cap Award (1999) for “Best Supporting Actress” for her role as ‘Sophia’ in Oscar Petersen and Heinrich Reisenhofer's Suip!, taken to Australia’s PIAF. She holds a BEd Honours in Educational Management (CPUT) but was part of the Hewat Drama Group when she wrote her first play for Grahamstown during her undegraduate.

Elton Landrew studied drama at the Waterfront Theatre School. He joined the South African hit musical Kat & The Kings with David Kramer and Taliep Peterson and travelled Europe for 3 years. In 2005 the show went on a German Tour and completed its run in Johannesburg where Elton settled for 8 years playing bit parts in theatre productions and various TV roles . His feature movie includes Ian Gabriel's Forgiveness and the highly acclaimed Ellen Pakkies. Elton continued his theatre career in musicals and theatre productions at the Baxter Theatre and Artscape,  including Dans van die  Watermeid written by Amee Lekas, and Dance of The Lagumas written and directed by Basil Apollis. Elton plays one of the lead roles in Spinners currently on Showmax and  recenty took part in Monsters , translated and directed by Tienerie van Wyk Loots which will also be performing at KKNK in 2024.