The Red on the Rainbow
Theatre / Rhodes Box

Primarily inspired by recent real life events in Coligny (The death of Matlhomola Moshweu), the play follows the aftermath of the death of a young man on a maize farm at the hands of a farmer’s son and his friends.


The play zooms in on a mother’s quest for justice in a community that has rendered her and those like invisible. Faced with the impossibility of being heard when you are essentially a ghost, the boy’s mother must reach into parts of herself she has been taught to silence and fear. She must sink deep into herself in order to be possessed by a ghost who can make her son’s blood speak, shout and scream. She must haunt, hound and harangue her son’s killers into seeing her in her invisibility, while shaking the community into joining her or rendering her insane and worth dismissing.


The play explores themes such as social justice, drug addiction, family, religiosity, culture, reconciliation and freedom through the lens of small farming towns in a post 1994 South African society. While the subject is serious, the performance is intended to entertain and engage and so has many a light moment and humour.


The play involves a cast with a colourful array of experiences in the South African theatre and music landscape. Sydney Mavundla’s compositions, supported by Volley Nchabeleng’s percussive interventions make up the soundscape that carries and elevates the performance as the actors, Tshireletso Nkoane, Dambuza Nqumashe, Thapelo Mohapi, Xolile Gama and Barileng Thato Malebye, interchangeably weave a flaming web of story around the audience.

Production Credits


Tshireletso Nkoane

Dambuza Nquamashe

Thapelo Mohapi

Xolile Gama

Barileng Thato Malebye



Sydney Mavundla (Trumpet)

Volley Nchabeleng (Percussion)


Costume Design:

Natalie Paneng


Lighting Design:

Hlomohang “Spider” Mothetho



Mandla Mngwevu


Stage Manager:

Siphesihle Fakude


Writer and Director:

Monageng “Vice” Motshabi

About the Artists

Sydney Mavundla

Sydney started learning trumpet at the age of 14, his father being his first teacher. In 1986 he was introduced to Prince Lengoasa who was his first formal teacher and later that year he studied with Brian Thusi in Durban. Through Brian he got a chance to play with Mario Monteregge’s Music Unlimited Big Band. In 1989 he then moved to Johannesburg where he did grade 12 and took some theory lessons with Cyril Khumalo at AMDA later trumpet lessons with Allan Wright.


He entered the Natal University for B Mus. Degree in jazz studies in 1992 under the directorship of Professor Darius Brubeck. During that time, he took trumpet lessons from Michel Schneuwly (Principal trumpet player KZNPO) and arranging from Chris Metz. 


In 1995 he won a scholarship to study in the USA Florida International University (Miami) with the renowned Cuban trumpeter Arturo Sandoval and John Bailey (USA). He took conducting lessons from Dr Richard Holtz and Mr Ivor Bosanko (USA).


In the classical field he has worked with Johannesburg Music Initiative (JMI), Kwa Zulu Natal Philharmonic Orchestra (KZNPO), Johannesburg Festival Orchestra (JFO), and the Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra (JPO). Presently Sydney is working with different set ups including his own Quintet.


Sydney also formed part of the teaching staff at the annual jazz festival in Grahamstown, where he played trumpet in the Awesome Big Band made up of local and international musicians. He has toured extensively in and out of Africa. 


His debut album, released in December 2016 and got a South African Music Awards 2017 (SAMA) nomination. He is presently studying towards his Masters in Music Composition.


Natalie Paneng

She is awkward, complex, and has a quirk to her expression. Residing in Johannesburg and the cyber village called the Internet. Natalie Paneng (b. 1996, South Africa) is a digital artist who completed a BADA(Hons) from the University of Witwatersrand in 2018. Majoring in Production Design (Set and Costume Design) and Art Management. Natalie makes use of both her self taught digital skills and her theatre background to create multidisciplinary digital art. 


Paneng’s work has been exhibited with TMRW Gallery (2020;2021), The National Arts Festival (2020), Blank Projects (2020), Michaelis School of Fine Art (2020), BKHzGallery (2019), Suburbia Contemporary (2021) , Javett ArtUP (2021) and Galerie Eigen Art Leipzig (2021). Along with this she has participated in local artist residencies such as Bubble gum club Future 76 Residency (2018), Floating Reverie (2019) and Fak'ugesi Digital Innovation Artist Residency (2019). Natalie also published creative research through Ellipses Journal and Artist Research Africa as well as being a 2020 Fellow with the Institute of Creative Arts and UCT.


Through her work she explores what it means to have an online presence, the personas we develop online and how the Internet and its algorithms control and influence us and our perceived reality. Her video work and art become a way for her to interrogate as well as share how she manifests and navigates the digital and physical world she lives in and creates for herself.


Hlomohang Spider Mothetho

Hlomohang “SPIDER” Mothetho is an alumnus of the Market Theatre Laboratory (2007/8). His professional career began at Mohlakeng Theatre Organisation as Stage Manager for ‘’Whatta Gwan’’ and Brown Bread, directed by Sam Sparara Modeiginyana. Spider’s work as a lighting designer is vast and nuanced which includes “13” by Mncedisi Shabangu at Mmabana arts centre. Proceeded by ‘’Mans Man Men’’ (Market Lab 2009) by Jeff Bobs Tshabalala; ‘’Spoken word’’ (Market Lab 2009) by Kgafela oa Magogodi; ‘’Of Cats and Dogs’’ (Mmabana Arts Centre 2009) by Karabo Kgokong; ‘’Colours of Diaspora’’ by Napo Masheane (2010); and ‘’Milk and Honey’’ by James Nqcobo & Khayalihle Domenic Gumede (NAF and Arts alive Market Lab 2013). In 2014, he continued to explore and expand his knowledge and skills in the realm of Lighting Design.


His debut work at Wits was “No Good Friday” by Dr Sam Ravengai (2014 Wits Theatre). This was proceeded by numerous successes such as ‘’Napo Masheane live @ Joburg Theatre’’ (2014); ‘’Poet o Type’’ by Jeff Bobs Tshabalala (2015 Soweto Theatre and State Theatre); ‘’Secret Ballot’’ by Jeff Bobs Tshabalala (State Theatre 2015); ‘’Vumani Oedipus’’ by Dr Sam Ravengai (Market Theatre 2015); ‘’Mooi Street Moves’’ (State Theatre) by Momo Matsunyane; ‘’Ruined’’ by Megan Wilson (2016 Wits Theatre) and ‘’Tau’’ (Naledi Award for best lighting design) by Thabiso Rammala & Momo Matsunyane (2016 Market Theatre). He worked on numerous productions as a lighting tech for both the Market Theatre and the Market Lab, to name few ‘’Hayani’’ by Warren Nebe (2011); ‘’The Girl in a yellow Dress’’ by Malcolm Purkey; ‘’The little Foot’’ by Malcolm Purkey (2012); ‘’Nothing but the truth’’ by Janice Honeyman. Spider also worked with the Dance Umbrella Festival (2012-18); ‘’Music extravaganza’’ featuring the likes of Hugh Masikela, Trompies, Paul Hamner, The Maffinz & Thebe (Market Theatre 2012) and ‘’The Joy of Jazz’’ (Market Theatre 2012).


Spider’s Artistry has been coloured by the influence of working with numerous International and Local Lighting Designers. He also worked at the Market lab (Venue Technician) from 2009 -2014, from 2014 to present Spider has been working for Wits theatre as Stage Manager and Lighting technician.


Volley Nchabeleng

Volley Nchabeleng is a multi-talented and versatile international percussionist of note. He studied music at Sibikwa Arts Centre from the year 2001 and at UNISA. He is winner of DSAC's Cultural and Creative Industries Award for Music.


He worked with Drama for Life for 5 years as playback theatre musician. His musical influence is rather eclectic and he draws from diverse sounds from across the world. 


He has played music in Africa, Europe and Asian continents with his tours including India, Belgium and Holland, Germany, France, Australia just to name few.


Volley has composed music for a number of theatre productions such as “Africa my love” and “Makhulu” by Portia Mashigo, which toured Europe between 2009 and 2012. “Ekhaya” by tribhangi dance company, “Morwa the rising son” by Tefo Paya and directed by warren Nebe, which won standard bank silver ovation award at NAF 2015. “PALEHO”by Lebo Leisa 2016, ANKOBIA by Monageng Vice Motshabi and Omphile Molusi just to name few.


His focus is on indigenous musical instruments collection, teaching younger artists, composing and playing around the world.


Monageng Vice Motshabi

Monageng is the Standard Bank Young Artist Award Winner for Theatre 2016. 


His most recent play, The Red on the Rainbow, won the DSAC's Cultural and Creative Industries Award for Outstanding Production 2024 and the 2023 Naledi Award for Best Ensemble in a play. A previous version of the play, titled On Noah’s Blood-Stained Rainbow, We Dance was adapted to a short film by Label Noir, which was screened with a reading of sections of the play at the Maxim Gorky Theatre, Berlin in 2020. The experience was supported by the Literarisches Colloquium of Berlin(LCB), who also supported the writing process. The play had its South African premier at the Soweto Theatre, as part of the Arts Alive Johannesburg International Arts Festival 2021. The play was then presented at the South African State Theatre, Jika Performing Arts College, in Botshabelo, at the Northern Cape Theatre and at the Market Theatre in 2022. The play was directed by Motshabi himself.


A few years ago, as part of his Young Artist Award, he presented Ankobia, co-written with Omphile Molusi and directed by Motshabi for NAF 2017 and The Market Theatre 2017. 


Since studying at the Market Theatre Lab in 2001-2002, Monageng has written and directed a wide-ranging number of plays and presented them in theatres across the country and beyond.


As a publisher, Monageng has published Reading the Palms of the Time 2017, Khongolose Khommanding Khomissars 2018, Between the Pillar and the Post 2019, Hauntings 2021 and The Red on the Rainbow 2022, collections of plays, of a play and monologues and of monologues and scenes respectively.


Barileng Thato Malebye

Barileng Thato Malebye trained at The Market Theatre Laboratory Johannesburg (class of 2010-2011). After graduation she has been involved in a few devisive plays like Bucket by Paul Noko, Balalatladi by Omphile Molusi and Making Mandela by Jenine Collcot Warren which ran at The State Theatre and later on got a Naledi Award for Best Production for young theater audiences.


She had the privilege to star in Lepatata by Moagi Modise, a first ever Setswana play to be staged at The Market Theatre, which won the best Ensemble at the 2015 Naledis, and had the opportunity to play Princess in Sophiatown which was directed by Malcom Purkey and got a nomination for Best Supporting Actress in a play in 2016.


She has also worked with 3 Winners of The Standard Bank Young Artist Award including Monageng Vice Motshabi as a director in Mogatapele, Princess Mhlongo in Divas of Kofifi as the lead narrator “Zawazi" and with Christian Olwagen in Dogma.


Her love and passion for the stage is something she cannot explain and has gotten her to be a part of great musicals like Emotional Creature by Eve Ensler, Phirimane ya Hip-Hop by Omphile Molusi and even King Kong the Musical. She now has the privilege to work with Aubrey Sekhabi in the State Theatre's Sophiatown. She is now currently playing detective Moeti on the River season 4 and will be on stage after the long covid-19 break with “The red of the rainbow” by Monageng Motshabi.


Dambuza Nqumashe

After studying Theatre Skills & Performance (Diploma) at The Market Theatre Laboratory, Dambuza Nqumashe took the South African Market by storm, acting in programs like ISIDINGO, BINNELANDERS, MZI WA TWO SIX, 7de Laan, Coconuts, Lithapo, Generation, Generations the legacy, Ubuntu as well as an improvisational show on SABC2 called drawing the line.


He has also performed in various stage productions such as: Nothing but the truth, Relativity, Goon, Blurring Shine, Pozing, Kasiology, Nkonyeni High. Films include: A paw paw vir my darling, Ayanda and the mechanics, Car crash, The 10th man, and My droom dag. Commercials include: Nandos (Ekurhuleni 11), Sasol (Gluk Gluk), Santam (What could go wrong), DSTV. Dambuza worked on many educational, corporate and industrial theatres. Dambuza Nqumashe is a trained actor, improviser and theatre director.


Thapelo Motsikoe

Thapelo Mohapi Orra Motsikoe hails from Bloemfontein in the Southern Free State, and is a theatre-maker, actor, director and facilitator. He trained at the Market Theatre Laboratory, Assitej South Africa and The Drama for Life Theatre Company at Wits University. Thapelo has applied his skills in theatre with schools and communities around South Africa and Botswana respectively, to capacitate, intervene and share experience, using theatre as a non-invasive tool to navigate urgent societal issues, with the Drama for Life theatre company. This work primarily uses applied performance pedagogy to enhance learning.


As an ASSITEJ Artist facilitator, Thapelo was involved in the Kickstarter Creative Arts project, a flagship educational programme, which improves the skills of intermediate phase life orientation educators in their compulsory curriculum subject “creative arts”. He was one of the 30 selected participants from around the world, for the Assitej next generation residency programme, where he enabled opportunities for international exchange and collaborations between young artists ,with an interest for theatre for young audiences.


Thapelo has also been on the small screen, having been part of Generations the Legacy as Thomas “Taxman” Majozy, Abomama bo mthandazo, Dhulas and Okae Molao, which won a Safta award to name a few. With his extensive and wide-ranging experience in the theatre and performance sector, Thapelo brings a potent combination of skill, technique and acute consideration to the floor.


Xolile Gama

Xolile Gama hails from Nelspruit in Mpumalanga Province and is a freelance actor, writer and director who has been in the industry for nearly three decades.


He appeared in 'Galvanomit-Akusiti' performed in the 1998 Young
Directors Festival at the Market Theatre's Laager Theatre. In 2000 he appeared in ‘Vuka Machel’ at the Windybrow Theatre Festival of the Arts (which won FNB-VITA Awards for Best Directed Play and Pick of the Festival). In 1999 he appeared in 'Wangesheya Wangesheya' at the Market Theatre’s Laager Theatre fora season. In 2002 'Vuka Machel’ performed for a season at the Barney Simon Theatre at the Market Theatre. In 2008 he was part of the acclaimed 'Ten Bush’ cast which premiered to sold out houses at the Grahamstown National Arts Festival before opening at the Market Theatre’s Barney Simon Theatre for a successful season. Later the same year he appeared in 'KaNyamazane' at the Windybrow Theatre for a season. All the above plays were directed by the 2003 Standard Bank Young Artist Winner for Theatre Mncedisi Shabangu.


In 2005 he appeared in 'Echoes' directed by Oscar Motsikoe at the Windybrow Theatre for a season. In 2013 he was part of the Mbongeni Ngema's classic 'Asinamali' cast, directed by the 2012 Standard Bank Young Artists Winner for Theatre Prince Lamla, which premiered at the Grahamstown National Arts Festival and after ran successfully for seasons at the Market Theate and the Soweto Theatre respectively. In 2014 he appeared in 'Book of Rebellations' directed by 2017 Standard Bank Young Artist Winner for Theatre Monageng 'Vice' Motshabi for seasons at the Soweto Theatre and the Arts Cape in 2015 respectively, which was nominated in three categories (Best New Play/ Script, Best Ensemble, and Best Music Score) for the 2015 Annual Naledi Theatre Awards. In 2015 he appeared in 'The Story I'm About To Tell' also directed by Monageng 'Vice' Motshabi for a season at the Soweto Theatre, which was nominated in Best Ensemble and Best Director categories respectively, for the 2016 Annual Naledi Theatre Awards. In 2018 he appeared in ‘Vuka Machel' at the Andre Huguenet Theatre at Pacofs Theatre and later in the year at PopArt at Maboneng Precinct for short seasons respectively. In 2019 he appeared in ‘Vuka Machel’ which was back by popular demand at the Market Theatre Laboratory for a season. In 2020 he performed in ‘Vuka Machel’ at the Joburg Arts Alive at the Joburg Theatre.


Tshireletso Nkoane

Tshireletso Nkoane is an actor from Bloemfontein. She has appeared in several theatre productions like Khongolose Khommanding Khommissars, King Moshoeshoe, Guga Mzimba, Maru, Welcome to Rocksburg, Rhetorical, On my birthday, Rain song, Jungle book, Itoyi-toyi, Securing the bag and The
Pricesess of Askies-Shem Street. She travelled through Europe with some of those theatre productions directed by various directors. You may have also seen her on television SABC 1 Drama Tshisa and SABC 2, Sesotho comedy series Moferefere Lenyalong.


Tshireletso also appeared in the long running South African soapie Generations the Legacy and Soul City. Some of her extended television and film work includes Rapulana Seiphemo’s Task force and Naledi a mini-series on M-Net channel (Mzansi magic) to name just a few. Her versatility and passion has seen her play different roles and characters in different creative spaces. She similarly enjoys educational and industrial theatre which she says allows her to connect with people through performance.

  • Venue: Rhodes Box
  • Location: Rhodes Theatre
  • Ticket price: ZAR 120.00
  • Programme type: Curated Programme
  • Genre: Theatre
  • Duration: 90 minutes
  • Ages: 10+
    • Suitable for All Ages
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