Sarafina! returns to its township roots

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A scene from the new production of the hit musical, Sarafina!, that will be touring townships all over the country, starting right here in the Mangaung Metro.

Although playwright Mbongeni Ngema has conquered the world stage, as for instance Broadway, with his hit musical Sarafina!, the story had its humble beginnings in township community halls as typical struggle theatre.

This Heritage Month, Ngema, in association with Committed Artists and Tsebepath, will take his theatrical masterpiece back to townships across the country. And more good news is that the much anticipated tour will kick off right here in the Mangaung Metro.

The Kagisanong Hall and the Batho Community Hall, which both hosted many a struggle play during the troubled 1980s, will once again be the venue for this world renowned theatre piece that echoes the hope and frustrations of an entire (lost?) generation.

This proudly South African musical, set during the 1976 uprisings in Soweto, deals with the “radicalisation of a young school girl who becomes embroiled in the riots and is tortured by the South African Police”.

The musical is set in the Morris Isaacson High School against the backdrop of students revolting against Afrikaans being used as a medium of instruction, and the lines “English in Afrikaans, History in Afrikaans, Zulu in Afrikaans, Mathematics in Afrikaans,” illustrate this.
According to a press statement by the producers, Sarafina! is a musical experience with songs performed in the tradition of mbaqanga, fused with styles such as jazz, rhythm and blues and gospel.

“In recognition and celebration of our rich heritage it is only befitting to once again present Sarafina! on our township stages with its legendary creator, Mbongeni Ngema.”
Sarafina! will be staged in the Kagisanong Hall from 9 to 28 September, with afternoon shows at 12:30 and 15:00, and evening shows at 19:00. On a Saturday the shows will be at 14:00 and 19:00.

The Batho Hall will get its turn from 1 to 11 October, with exactly the same time schedule as that of the Kagisanong Hall.

Tickets are available online at www.webtickets.co.za as well as at Pick n Pay stores at R120 for adults and R90 for learners.

Pieter Delport

pieterd@mahareng.co.za