Negotiating despair and finding hope: Ntombi Wonci @ Plett Arts Festival 

Published: June 22nd, 2020
Wandisile's Plett - A blog by Wandisile Sebezo

Wandisile’s Plett

A blog by Wandisile Sebezo.

Negotiating despair and finding hope: Ntombi Wonci to perform at the Plett Arts Festival

Perhaps you know her as an academic, radical feminist and activist, well, there’s more to Sivuyisiwe “Ntombi” Wonci than she lets on, and at this year’s first ever virtual Plett ARTS Festival, we get to experience the creative side of this amazing Plett local.

Ntombi is one of many who hails from the hands of Mncedisi “Ta Mnce” Ncedani, who at the time ran a number of creative arts projects at the Simunye Community Centre now known as Thusong Centre.

Ntombi is one of those gems that Ta Mnce found and polished, she told me she owes most of her creative arts to the years where she was performing under his leadership. In her own words she says of Ta Mnce; “most of the things I know about performance, theatre and poetry, I learned from that great legend”.

It was during her stay as a student at the University of the Western Cape (UWC), though, that she nurtured the skill and performed in theatres in and around Cape Town. She also had an opportunity to perform at the Grahamstown National Arts Festival as a member of ‘Reclaiming the P Word’ production, an African feminist initiative by the Gender Equity Unit at UWC.

Incwadi ye themba, loosely translated is a ‘book of hope’, that she’ll be performing at the Plett ARTS Festival is a collection of poems that she wrote over the years since being diagnosed as bipolar in 2017. She wrote it while she was admitted at the psychiatric ward at the Steve Biko Academic Hospital in Tshwane.

“It’s really about my journey as a woman and some of the challenges I’ve encountered in terms of growing up, becoming and continuing. The theme is the constant negotiation as a young woman of self-mutilation, self-doubt, self-loathing, the depression, the anxieties of how things are going to be, the self-critique, the hatred that we go through, but also at the same time the commitment to serving and appreciating self, affirming self, but also serving family and the community at large”.

Ntombi Wonci
Ntombi Wonci performing Incwadi yethemba

When she wrote ‘Incwadi ye themba’ says she was reflecting “what hope looked like” for her at the time, “a journey of negotiating despair and finding hope along the way”. This is basically what her show will be about.

True to her activism, all the proceeds of this show will go to the Plett Youth Fund, an initiative by young people in Kwano doing their bit to assist families in need with access to nutritious food.

Join Sivuyisiwe “Ntombi” Wonci as she takes us through her journey in life, performing live on Thursday 25 June, brought to you by N2 Lounge. Tickets cost R30.

Incwadi yethemba is a spoken word project in which Ntombi Wonci reflects on her intertwined journeys of becoming a woman. It mirrors the continuum between an addiction with self-mutilation and the commitment to serving. 


  • We are born of tongues: 18h00 – 18h05
  • Iphakade: 18h05 – 18h12
  • You will always be: 18h12 – 18h18
  • Uhlele ni? 18h18 – 18h25
  • Love and acceptance: 18h25 – 18h30
  • Tribute to Simnikiwe Mfengu: 18h30 – 18h35
  • Ithemba: 18h35 – 18h40

Author: Ntombi Wonci
Event: Plett Arts Festival
Venue: N2 Lounge
Date: 25 June 2020
Time: 18: 00 – 18: 40

The ticket profits for the show will be donated to Plett Food Fund

incwadi yethemba