David Maahlamela Appointed Director for Centre for Creative Arts
Maahlamela, who holds a Masters Degree in Creative writing (cum laude) from Rhodes University, is an acclaimed, award-winning author. His publications include four books (poetry, a novel and a drama). He is especially proud of the ground-breaking poetry anthology which he edited. His literary works have appeared in more than 50 literary journals and anthologies.
He brings his skills and experiences as an arts administrator, scholar, leader and manager to the position of Head of the Centre of Creative Arts.
He serves on the board of the National Arts Council and he chairs its Literature Panel and is also a member of the Audit & Risk Committee. Another board that he serves on is the National English Literature Museum and he also chairs the museum’s Finance Committee. In addition, he is a member of the Executive Committee.
David has a history of commitment to extending poetry and literary festivals to communities that have historically not been the recipients. He founded the RealMenTalk Poetry Project and co-founded the Polokwane Literary Fair.
His experience also extends to the private sector, having spent eight years in the mining sector under De Beers Consolidated Mines and Anglo Platinum.
He is the recipient of, among others, the Musina Mayoral Excellence Award, the Herifest Prize for Poetry, Maskew Miller Longman Literature Award, South African Book Development Council Award, Darlo Prize for Poetry and the PanSALB Multilingualism Award. In 2012, he made it to the prestigious Mail & Guardian 200 Top Young South Africans list as one of the prominent poets in the country.
Maahlamela is also not a stranger to the Centre for Creative Arts as he previously was a participant during Poetry Africa in 2011, and Time of the Writer in 2012.
Asked about his vision for the Centre, Maahlamela added: ‘I want to link the Centre to academia, thus making it relevant to the University and for the students, especially those in the Creative and performing Arts, to fully participate and utilise the Centre as a platform from which they can evolve their work and careers.’
‘The Centre is part of a research-led university and research, teaching and service should be integrally linked. I see the potential of guiding the Centre to publish work emanating from the festivals in the form of research documents, critical essays, short story or poetry collections and to publish in literary and other relevant journals.’
Maahlamela is in the final stages of his PHD and intends to complete before the end of the year.
‘I look forward to forming a close working relationship with the Sneddon and Hexagon theatres that are also attached to the College of Humanities.’
In terms of acting, Maahlamela also has lived experience as he was an actor on the popular SABC 2 drama series, Muvhango. In addition he also has experience as a radio host.
He is passionate and excited about his new role. ‘I will work hard to bring the Centre closer to communities and the university academic programme and in nurturing existing partnerships and developing new ones.’
He added that he is excited to be joining the Centre the month that the Durban International Film Festival (DIFF) takes place, as he will have the opportunity to attend DIFF from his position as the new Centre Director. This he said, will assist in his forward planning for all the Centre’s festivals of which DIFF is one of them.
Xoliswa Zulu and Melissa Mungroo