Using images from 1970's, «Miss Thandi» deals with the transitional position of the South African country.
This work is Gregory Maqoma's hommage to Raymond Vuyo Matinyana, aka Miss Thandi, artist, drag queen and activist extraordinaire from the culture and traditions of the Xhosa. Born in 1969 in Port Alfred (South Africa), Raymond Vuyo Matinyana emigrated to the Netherlands in 1992 where he quickly became successful with his imitations of Miriam Makeba and other 'grandes dames' of African song. He died of hepatitis B at the age of 32 in his home in Amsterdam. The plane bringing his body back to South Africa crashed in south-eastern Nigeria in November 2001. It is this pulverized body, which never returned home, that Gregory Vuyani Maqoma invokes and somehow brings back to life when he enters the stage, wearing a tutu and ballet shoes.
Through a minimalist approach to movement and music that draws on the South African repertoire of the 1970s, “Miss Thandi” sensitively evokes the uncertain progression of a country undergoing a radical transition.
This 30 minute solo is danced by Gregory Maqoma, surrounded by three live musicians, and includes a video segment which shows the life of the drag queen artist. This solo is linked with “Rhythm Colour”, a broader and more abstract work with which it contrasts: “[In this work [“Rhythm Colour”], Maqoma searches for colour, texture, shades and form in movement, he investigates the past, allowing an introspection of the fragility of humankind in isolated forms to collide in manifestation of our histories, rhythms become visible and apparent, he explores movement in its metaphoric state, taking it to infinity, continuously searching for answers, he touches on reality which continues to be abstract.] If reality surfaces then it is to honour those who have died, given up their lives in the name of freedom, and to celebrate the life of a drag artist, Miss Thandi, who on the night before his death still went on stage to sing Sarie Marais. 
Commissioned by the FNB Vita Dance Umbrella (Johannesburg), “Miss Thandi” was first performed in March 2002.
 Vuyani Dance Theatre website, January 2014. http://www.vuyani.co.za/repertoire.html
“The gestures are tight, between repose and movement, balancing and falling. The artist manages the feat of reinterpreting, in a minimalist framework, some jerky, energetic and loose motions specific to South African traditional dances. The man looks himself in a mirror, disturbed by his own face which he does not seem to recognise. Make-up and a wig help him become his real self. Miss Thandi is born from the body of a man, right before our eyes, to celebrate the heritage of Xhosa women (culture of origin of Raymond Vuyo Matinyana and the choreographer himself). It pays homage to a comrade and not to a master. An exercise in admiration disguised as empathy.”
Source: extract of the article by Koss Efoui, "Chorégraphies de la violence", 18/02/2003, published at http://www.jeuneafrique.com/Article/LIN16023chorgecnelo0/
Interview with Gregory Maqoma - Afrik.com in 2003:
Updating: September 2013