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Ode to Karoo takes top dance film prize

The “pick of the platform” from the JOMBA! Contemporary Dance Experience is being screened on the festival’s YouTube channel.

A dance film described as “an ode to the unique South African Karoo landscape” has won the top prize at the JOMBA! Open Horizons “pick of the platform” awards.

The JOMBA! Contemporary Dance Experience, celebrating 25 years this year, announced the winners on Sunday, 3 September, and the winning entries will be screened on the festival’s YouTube channel until 10 September here: (

Three of six dance films selected for “pick-of-the-platform” earned prize money, with Cape Town’s Oscar O’Ryan taking top honours and a monetary prize of R3,000 for Not From Here. Juror Tracey Saunders applauded the work for its “exquisite styling and sense of place” while fellow juror Shanelle Jewnarain commended the film’s expert crafting where “concept meets execution perfectly”.

The platform encourages submissions from dance-makers across Africa and South Africa and has been a platform for artists, new and established, to create and develop new and original work for participation on JOMBA!’s international stage.  An open call is made for submissions of work from 3 to 8 minutes in length, which are then vetted by an independent jury, As a result, JOMBA!’s Open Horizons platform offers a smorgasbord of new works across a variety of themes, showcasing emerging and established voices for local and international audiences.

The six dance films selected for inclusion on the 2023 Open Horizons platform showcase work from across South Africa and include a work from Kenya.  The works offer a diverse range of dance styles, forms and themes made for digital engagement.

Kenyan Maulid Owino’s work When time stops took second place and a R2,000 award. Owino, who is founder and artistic director of Dance Unites had his work screened as part of the 2021 iteration of JOMBA! Open Horizons. When time stops is a work that plays with the fleetingness of time and jurors commented on the artful use of transitions in driving character and narrative forward.

Durban-based Tshediso Kabulu’s Exorcism took third place and a R1,000 prize. Kabulu, who is no stranger to Durban’s stages and screens, says the work explores “the pursuit of liberation, healing, and the ultimate freedom to live in the present moment”.  Juror David April commented on the expressiveness of Kabulu’s performance in lending itself to the articulated narrative.

Also included on the programme are Cape Town-based Kamogelo Dooka’s thoughtful The Tormented Crown,  Capetonian Zandile Salukazana’s evocative Wake Up, and Bloemfontein’s Thamsanqa Majela with the emotive IN SANE.

The Festival offers a range of workshops, residencies, talks and performances and run until 10 September. Tickets are available through Computicket.

All festival information is available on the festival website:

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