23 September 2019


TO ALL MEDIA           


Mahala launches Red Apple Dreams at the Market Theatre

The Market Theatre Foundation in association with Iconic Productions invites you to the launch of Red Apple Dreams and Other Stories, a collection of short stories by Siphiwo Mahala.

In this book, Mahala is in the company of prominent South African authors including Can Themba, James Matthews, Njabulo S. Ndebele and Zukiswa Wanner. Known for his excellent re-imagination of Themba’s The Suit, which is also featured in this collection, Mahala recasts fresh perspectives on Matthews’s classic story, The Park, and embarks on an intergenerational dialogue with other prominent South African writers.

Red Apple Dreams is a compilation of Mahala’s best stories, some new and others previously published in different anthologies. It retraces his journey in literary apprenticeship over a period of nearly 20 years.

“This is my most important book not only because it features some of my best stories, but also because I am published alongside some of the most distinguished exponents of the short story genre in South Africa,” says Mahala.

The 15 stories entailed in this publication grapple with a range of themes and settings — from the marginal to topical issues like land reform and race and racism. At times comical, at times intensely emotional, but always captivating, these stories deftly capture the complexity of life in contemporary South Africa with the flair and sensitivity of a master storyteller.

The launch details are as follows:

Date:                           Thursday, 17 October 2019

Time:                          18:00 for 18:30

Venue:                        Market Theatre

RSVP:                         Portia Murivimi              


For further information, interviews and images, contact:

Lusanda Zokufa, Senior Publicist
Market Theatre 011 832 1641 ext 202 or 072 367 7867


Issued by Iconic Productions

13 August 2018


TO ALL MEDIA           


Can Themba Documentary to Premiere at the Market Theatre 

The Market Theatre Foundation in association with Iconic Productions invites members of the media to attend the Can Themba Symposium to be held at the Market Theatre on Thursday, 13 September. The symposium, which pays tribute to the legendary writer and journalist, will include panel discussions where artists, academics, journalists and legends in the arts, culture and heritage sector will reflect on the legacy of Can Themba.

The symposium will culminate with the premiere of Can Themba: The Teacher in the Newsroom, a documentary that is a concomitant product of Siphiwo Mahala’s academic research, for which he obtained a doctoral degree. The documentary features prominent cultural icons, academics and political activists like poet Don Mattera, legendary journalist Juby Mayet, academic and chair of Nelson Mandela Foundation, Njabulo Ndebele, as well as the late Nadine Gordimer, Keorapetse Kgositsile and Ahmed Kathrada, among others.

While Themba passed away more than 50 years ago, his life has continuously been celebrated through short stories, journalistic articles and theatre. Most notably, his short story, “The Suit” remains one of the most popular pieces of short fiction in the history of South Africa. The Suit as well as The House of Truth, Themba’s bioplay penned by Mahala and performed by legendary thespian Sello Maake kaNcube, were staged at the Market Theatre to sold-out shows and rave reviews in 2017. The Teacher in the Newsroom is the first documentary of Can Themba, who died in Manzini, Swaziland, on 8 September 1967.

In The Teacher in the Newsroom, Can Themba's life, writing, teaching, personal joys and political battles are relived through the voices of his former students, mentees, colleagues as well as public intellectuals. This dynamic and pithy documentary weaves together elements of Themba's life and career with deft wit and poise, recreating the sparkle and pathos of Sophiatown and the Drum era. This makes for an edifying and highly entertaining piece of history as told by prominent local voices.


Issued by Iconic Productions

23 August 2017 


TO ALL MEDIA           



The Nelson Mandela Foundation in collaboration with the Centre for the Book and Iconic Productions invite media to the launch of The House of Truth at the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory. The House of Truth is a bioplay inspired by the life of distinguished South African writer and journalist, Can Themba, written by Siphiwo Mahala.

The House of Truth was Can Themba’s single room bachelor flat located at 111 Ray Street, in Sophiatown of the 1950s. With the House of Truth, Themba was opening a platform for candid debate, and all those who were interested in intellectual engagement, black and white, were welcome. According to Stan Motjuwadi, Themba’s former student, the House of Truth was “Can’s way of cocking a snook at snobbery, officialdom and anything that smacked of the formal. Everybody but a snob was welcome at the House of Truth.”

After successful performances at the Grahamstown National Arts Festival, Market Theatre and Soweto Theatre, the play is now available in book form. The book is published by Iconic Productions, a new black-owned production house, with support from the Centre for the Book. The book will be launched on Friday, 8 September 2017, which marks the 50th anniversary of the passing of Can Themba. The eighth of September is also celebrated globally as International Literacy Day and in South Africa it falls within National Book Week, which will be from 5-11 September.

The event will be paying homage to Themba as a distinguished teacher, writer and journalist, while at the same time highlighting the importance of literacy and a culture of reading. The programme director will be radio personality Azania Mosaka, with the keynote address by Panyaza Lesufi, the MEC for Education, and the programme features a discussion with prominent individuals like former Press Ombudsman, Joe Thloloe, business executive and Can Themba’s daughter, Yvonne Themba, and a special performance by distinguished actor, Sello Maake kaNcube.

The Details of the event are as follows:


Venue             : Nelson Mandela Foundation, 107 Central Street, Houghton

Time              : 18:00 – 21:00

Date                : 8 September 2017

Who was Can Themba?

Daniel Canodoce Themba (Can Themba) was born on 21 June 1924, in Marabastad, Pretoria. He grew up partly in the township of Atteridgeville and did his schooling at Khaiso Secondary School, a boarding school situated near Polokwane. He was the first recipient of the Mendi Memorial Scholarship with which he studied at the University of Fort Hare from 1945-1947, graduating his BA degree with a distinction in English. He later returned to University to study towards the University Education Diploma. He worked as a teacher at various schools, including Madibane High in the Western Township, as well as the Central Indian High School in Fordsburg. In 1953 he won the inaugural Drum short story competition and joined the magazine as a reporter and later became the associate editor. He left Drum in 1959 and later went into exile in Swaziland. In 1966 he was banned under the Suppression of Communism Act of 1950. He died of coronary thrombosis while in his flat in Manzini on 8 September 1967. His work was published posthumously in: The Will to Die (1972), The World of Can Themba (1985) and Requiem for Sophiatown (2006). He has received numerous accolades posthumously, including the Order of Ikhamanga in Silver for “Excellent Achievement in Literature, contributing to the field of journalism and striving for a just and democratic society in South Africa,” which was awarded by President Thabo Mbeki in 2006.

Author Profile

Siphiwo Mahala is a prominent novelist, short story writer and a great admirer of Can Themba’s work. His books include the novel When A Man Cries, which he translated to his native Xhosa language as Yakhal’ Indoda, and African Delights, a collection of short stories which includes one of his most celebrated works, “The Suit Continued,” a rejoinder to Can Themba’s “The Suit.” In January 2016, The Guardian newspaper in the UK listed African Delights as one of the top ten must-read books in the world. The House of Truth, his debut play, was first performed by the venerable actor Sello Maake kaNcube at the Grahamstown National Arts Festival to rave reviews and sold-out shows. Born in Grahamstown, Eastern Cape province, Mahala is a graduate of the University of Fort Hare and holds a Master of Arts degree in African Literature from Wits University. He is a doctoral candidate at UNISA with Can Themba as the focus of his research. He served as the head of Books and Publishing at the Department of Arts and Culture for a period of over ten years. He was recently announced as one of the judges for the 2018 edition of the 9Mobile Prize for Literature (formerly known as the Etisalat Prize), the biggest literary prize for new writers on the African continent.

For more information contact:


Ms Anam Maleki

Publicist: Iconic Productions

Mobile           : 0737688501

Email             :


Issued by Iconic Productions