Mama Win­nie


CityPress - - News - NDILEKA LUJABE ndileka.lujabe@city­

O n Fri­day night, Win­nie Madik­izela-Man­dela at­tended a per­for­mance of Sara­fina!, a mu­si­cal she in­spired while cook­ing in her kitchen in Or­lando.

A frail Madik­izela-Man­dela was ex­pected to be called up on to the stage at the end of the per­for­mance at the State The­atre in Pre­to­ria, but it wasn’t to be. She watched the show away from pry­ing eyes in one of the the­atre’s pri­vate boxes.

City Press did man­age to get a quick com­ment from her at the end of the show, be­fore be­ing shoved out of the way by burly body­guards.

She said: “For me it was very nos­tal­gic. The per­for­mance was ab­so­lutely won­der­ful and stun­ning. I can­not be­lieve that any­one can recre­ate some­thing to this ex­tent; Mbon­geni has a very spe­cial tal­ent. It is as rel­e­vant to­day as it was those many years ago ... real free­dom is still com­ing.”

Sara­fina! has re­turned with a new lead actress, Nox­olo Dlamini, who is fill­ing the shoes of Leleti Khu­malo, who made the mu­si­cal fa­mous.

Sara­fina! came about dur­ing a con­ver­sa­tion be­tween its writer and di­rec­tor, Mbon­geni Ngema, and Madik­ize­laMan­dela.

“That even­ing, I was stand­ing in Win­nie Man­dela’s kitchen as she was pre­par­ing sup­per for her chil­dren,” Ngema said.

“I asked her: ‘Mama, what do you think would hap­pen when we fi­nally face the Bo­ers’ army?’ She replied: ‘Mbon­geni, I wish I had a big blan­ket to cover the faces of the lit­tle ones, so that they do not see the bit­ter end.’

“As I drove to my house that even­ing, those words echoed in my mind and I started hear­ing voices of stu­dents singing, ‘Free­dom is Com­ing To­mor­row’, and that be­came the cen­tre piece for my work. From that day, I started writ­ing the script and com­pos­ing mu­sic,” Ngema said.

The mu­si­cal man­ages to keep the essence of the orig­i­nal story, although some parts have been slightly al­tered. The cast closely re­sem­bles that of the 1992 film adap­ta­tion and does a stel­lar job of cap­tur­ing the spirit of the orig­i­nal play.

Dlamini man­ages to em­body the en­ergy, vigour, charm and fear­less­ness of lead char­ac­ter Sara­fina, which au­di­ences have al­ways loved. How­ever, her Model C ac­cent slightly took away from emo­tive de­liv­ery. With amaz­ing vo­cal per­for­mances, Mbaqanga jams, fused with jazz, rhythm, blues and gospel, ex­pect to be taken on a unique ex­pe­ri­ence and fresher take on the story.

Ngema was de­lighted that so many young chil­dren came to see the show. “This is their his­tory, they should know where the coun­try comes from and know how hard their par­ents strug­gled for their free­dom,” he said.

Somizi Mh­longo, the ini­tial chore­og­ra­pher of the mu­si­cal and sub­se­quent star in the film, was also due to at­tend but wasn’t present.

The show runs un­til May 20. Tick­ets cost be­tween R100 and R180


OLD SCHOOL IS COOL A fresh take on the clas­sic mu­si­cal Sara­fina!

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