“Kofifi” to set the stage alight

Vuk'uzenzele - - Sport, Agretnser&aclulture - More Mat­shediso


Fans of the ac­claimed mu­si­cal ‘Sophiatown’ are in for a treat this sea­son as the play’s re­vived ver­sion is be­ing show­cased at the South African State The­atre.

The mem­o­rable mu­si­cal has been re­vi­talised with a new young cast to de­light today’s au­di­ences with its time­less mu­sic un­der the ex­pe­ri­enced eye of the State The­atre’s multi-award win­ning artis­tic di­rec­tor, Aubrey Sekhabi.

The show fea­tures a stel­lar cast which in­cludes Thabiso Tsha­bal­ala as Jakes, Caitlin Clerk as Ruth, Ter­rence Ig­na­cious Ng­wila as Min­gus, Ken­neth Mlambo as Fah­fee, Sim­phiwe Ndlovu as Princess, Madge Kola as Ma­mar­iti, Zamah Ngubane as Lulu, and Bon­gani Masango as Char­lie.

Sophiatown opened in grand “Kofifi” style on the 13 April and runs un­til 13 May. The State The­atre is the only the­atre show­ing Sophiatown.

The mu­si­cal was first staged last year. It is an imag­i­na­tive re­con­struc­tion of an ex­tra­or­di­nary story of jour­nal­ists who set up house to­gether and ad­ver­tise for an­other house­mate to come and live with them.

De­spite the apartheid leg­is­la­tion they man­age to ob­tain per­mis­sion for a white Jewish woman to move in. This char­ac­ter is Ruth Golden who turns up with a suit­case on the Sophiatown doorstep, to be met by jour­nal­ist Jakes. Ruth is said to go through chal­lenges of in­te­gra­tion.

The play will also take the au­di­ence through a mu­si­cal jour­ney with sounds of acapella har­mony and orig­i­nal songs from Sophiatown or Kofifi as it was fondly known.

De­spite the vi­o­lence and poverty, Sophiatown was a leg­endary cul­tural hub and the epi­cen­tre of pol­i­tics, jazz and blues.

It sym­bol­ised a so­ci­ety that al­lowed a free­dom of ac­tion, as­so­ci­a­tion and ex­pres­sion, where peo­ple lived to­gether in har­mony, un­di­vided by race or skin colour.

The ex­is­tence of Sophiatown as a ‘mixed’ sub­urb was in di­rect con­tra­dic­tion to the apartheid pol­icy of ge­o­graph­i­cally sep­a­rat­ing peo­ple ac­cord­ing to their skin colour. Its hey­day fi­nally ended when the au­thor­i­ties de­lib­er­ately tore the area apart.

This vi­brant com­mu­nity pro­duced some of South Africa’s most fa­mous mu­si­cians, artists, writ­ers, jour­nal­ists and politi­cians as ur­ban African cul­ture formed dur­ing the re­pres­sive 1940s and 1950s.

Sekhabi is known for di­rect­ing ‘Kalushi -The Story of Solomon Mahlangu,’ Rivo­nia Trial, Silent Voices, MarikanaThe Mu­si­cal, and the new ‘Free­dom’ mu­si­cal, to name just a few.

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