Amy Jephta

Fact or fiction? Journalist or novelist? These questions plagued the young Amy Jephta growing up on the Cape Flats, where she still lives today. So Japhta chose to be a playwright, seeing it as “real life with embellishments”. And yet the 25-year-old’s achievements seem almost fictional. After winning the undergraduate class medal at the University of Cape Town (UCT) drama school, Japhta was awarded the first Emerging Directors Bursary from UCT’s Gordon Institute for the Performing and Creative Arts. That spurred her to write, direct, fundraise, design and produce four shows in one year before “taking a break” to complete her master’s degree in 2012. A digital content producer by day, playwright by night and Big Issue columnist by calling, Japhta is still carving out new avenues for her talent. Last year she was chosen to participate in the Lincoln Center Theatre Directors Lab in New York and presented one of her plays at the Women Playwrights International Conference in Sweden. All facts, thanks to her fiction. — Cat Pritchard