The Vulture Photography project celebrates and supports the work of South African theatre-practitioners. We showcase and feature various aspects of the South African Theatre industry, from stage productions to awards ceremonies and festivals. Accompanied by Performing arts Photography, the project aims to give our readers a descriptive and visual experience of the local theatre industry.

Denise Newman celebrates the life of Dulcie September

April 23, 2017

COLD CASE: Revisiting Dulcie September is a mono-drama, written and directed by Basil Appollis alongside Sylvia Vollenhoven and performed by one of South Africa's most talented actresses, Denise Newman. The production pays tribute to the late activist Dulcie September who was brutally murdered in Paris in 1988.


Who could have been so heartless to commit such a gruesome crime and why?  The case still remains unsolved and leaves Dulcie's friends and family with many unanswered questions.


This is not just a story about human life, but rather a production about a woman who had fought hard for the freedom of oppressed South Africans and who also never got the opportunity to smile when Freedom Day had dawned upon us all on the 27 April 1994 and which also brought in the democratic society.



Denise Newman brings to life this extraordinary piece, honouring the life of Dulcie September. Newman portrays various roles i.e. friends and family of Dulcie, who share memorable moments, and important details which led to her tragic death on March 29, 1988. 


Countless stories unfold, exploring Dulcie's upbringing, her career and imprisonment before she eventually moved to Europe to become a prominent ANC activist. Portrayed by Newman with such conviction, that you can almost feel the story narrated by Dulcie herself. 


There are some whimsical moments as Newman separates the seriousness surrounding Dulcie's death, when she quickly adopts a vivacious Cape Coloured accent, having her audience in stitches. 



The set  is minimal, yet it catches the eye of audience. It is covered in boxes, each depicting different times in Dulcie's life: her abusive father, restrictions of apartheid, the four walls of her prison cell and last but not least - the case file which led to her death, which contains the largest pile of unsolved case files. 


The lighting depicts the various emotions of the story. A variety of video footage plays out within the production and serves as a powerful reminder that this story is not fictional at all.  


In May 2015, the production had a 3 week run at the Baxter Theatre before moving on to the Women's Festival in August of that year, which took place at the Artscape Theatre. In June/July 2014, the production went to the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown and in that very same year, they scooped 2 awards. The first one was the 2014 Standard Bank Ovation followed by the Adelaide Tambo Humanitarian Award.


The production will be touring France in 2018 to commemorate the 30th Anniversary of Dulcie September's death.  To date: Nobody has taken responsibility or has been held accountable in connection with the death of Dulcie, and her case remains unsolved.



Be sure to book your tickets for a powerful and informative story about the life and times of Dulcie September. Tickets are available online at for R100.00, and R120.00  at the door. The shows starts at 21:00 promptly and runs for 1 hour until 22:00. 


The  performances are as follows: 18 & 19th April 2017 and from the 24th - 29th April respectively. 

Venue: Alexander Bar, Cafe & Theatre, Strand Street, Cape Town. Contact (021) 300 1088 for more information.

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