Madame Zingara ... the show must go on

2013-08-23 14:53
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 The Specifics (Nicky Coetzee) ~ Supplied
The Specifics is a dynamic local vocal group consisting of four passionate women.

The group was formed in August 2012 and their music brings back the most memorable of the old favourite hits. Currently they keep the feet tapping as the party goes on at Madame Zingara Theatre of Dreams in the V&A Waterfront, Cape Town.

The members of The Specifics are Candida Mosoma, Dorrianne Mahlangu, Nichole Makoba and Carmen Maarman. They share their trials and triumphs:


I performed in my first musical whilst in Matric. This motivated me to enrol at the City Varsity Multimedia to pursue studies in acting and TV presenting.

Working with David Karmer and Taliep Pieterson for seven years in a variety of productions such as District 6 and Ghoema, also boosted my confidence and keeps me motivated.

I work with three amazingly talented women. We work well together and there is always time for a giggle or two.

I feel we have and are showing that we can hold our own, we are four strong young women doing what we love doing and with passion.

I think it's tough everywhere, you constantly have to prove yourself.

You don't get to see your family as often as you would. You miss special events, but you also feel fortunate to have a job, as many people in our industry struggle to find work.

Juggling my time to fit everything in, well it's hard sometimes. Some days there is no time to breathe or eat, but it's all worth it in the end.

It is a tough industry, but it also has great rewards. My advice is to believe in yourself and your talent. Most of all have fun doing what you love most.

I have definitely grown as a performer and am more confident on stage.


I sharpened my talent as a drama major at Pro Arte Alphen Park School of the Performing Arts and later obtained my B.Tech in Musical Theatre at the Tshwane University of Technology.

Despite the opportunity to study in this field and the experience afterwards, yes it is difficult being an artist in SA.

Not enough shows are produced and developed to cater for everyone. The competition is as present and cut-throat as any other profession.

The benefits of being in an all women group are the understanding and working in harmony. We are breaking stereotypes.

There is also a sense of enjoyment and will to be the best. We work well together.

My only advice for other young women who want to make it big is stay fierce and focused.


I attended the Tshwane University of Technology Musical Theatre and took part in many South African productions. My diverse talents has enabled me to play in an array of musicals, including Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat and Dreamgirls.

However, it is not easy being a performer in this country or in any other country for that matter.

Due to these tough economic times people don't have the money to indulge in the luxury of attending live theatre.

This limits the stage shows produced per annum in this country, thus leaving many performers uncatered for and unemployed and challenged to find other means of income.

The beauty of being a part of an all women group is we are so different, with such diverse backgrounds and personalities, but complement each other so well.

The greatest challenge of being a performer in this industry is keeping yourself current and relevant.

Every year a new batch of students come out of performing arts school, ready to face the industry. They are fresh and hungry to take the stage by storm and as a seasoned performer one needs to constantly have that drive or even more.

It is easy to be lost in the shadows of obscurity if you don't constantly aim to better yourself as an artist.

I manage my time pretty easily. The days are ours to rest and rejuvenate ourselves after the previous night's show. Then, from 17:15 we arrive at work, have a sound check, get ready for the show and then "It's Show Time!"

The world is your stage, so play on, I'd tell other aspiring artists. Also persevere, don't give up!


I was born and raised in KwaZulu-Natal. After completing Matric, I moved east of Johannesburg, where I started to pursue studies in human resources.

However, my lack of interest in this field led me to enrol for Saturday classes at Sibikwa Arts Centre where I've learnt marimba, drums, dance and singing.

This is when I realised this is my true passion. After completing my studies at Sibikwa, I went on to study further, earning my musical theatre diploma from TUT (Tshwane University of Technology) in 2011.

While I studied I also worked part time teaching dance classes at Cuban Hearts and travelling through South Africa as a diski dancer promoting the 2010 World Cup.

I even got the chance to perform in the closing ceremony of the World Cup.

Being a performer in South Africa at the moment can be a little tough for several reasons: I shall mention but a few.

* We are contract workers so you can go for months without a job. This can be a bit difficult.
* Without experience many companies may find it hard to trust your work ethic without any references, regardless of how talented you are.
* Sometimes they are looking for more than just a good voice (looks, personality, performance,stage presence).
* But once you have a contract you give it all you've got in the hopes that it lasts longer.

Being in a group of women has its pros and cons, but we have each other for support. The company is always looking out for our best interest and the audiences take us in very well.

It's a beautiful experience I wouldn't trade it for a dime.

A big challenge is that it can be very difficult to convince people that you are more than capable. This can sometimes damage your self esteem and create self doubt.

You will have people who love you and people who don't. Others might say they don't enjoy you on stage and others may say they love you.

You can't please everyone so you take every critic with a pinch of salt, use what you need and chuck what you don't need.

Making it as a performer is not easy, but it's not impossible. It takes hard work, patience and thick skin.

If your instinct says do it, then do it. It sounds scary and yes, it is but just like any other job, you start at the bottom of the food chain and you have to fight to get to the top.

There is no greater reward than that you have worked for your success. And there will be people who will say you can't do it.

Don't pay too much attention to them. Just show them you can.

- Fin24

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