Madiba the Mu­si­cal

Wanneroo Times - - NEWS -

Tim ‘Ti­mo­matic’ Omaji, for­merly of Wan­neroo, cel­e­brates the life of a free­dom fighter in his role as Nel­son Man­dela in Madiba the Mu­si­cal.

TIM ‘Ti­mo­matic’ Omaji has child­hood mem­o­ries of his par­ents giv­ing money to the cause of Nel­son Man­dela and free­dom fight­ers in South Africa.

Born in Nige­ria, Omaji moved with his fam­ily to Aus­tralia in 1988 when he was 10 months old and his aca­demic fa­ther was awarded a schol­ar­ship to Univer­sity of Can­berra.

“I was taught from a very young age that black peo­ple were op­pressed ev­ery­where and I felt a bond to that,” Omaji said.

“But my view of Nel­son Man­dela was al­ways the grey-haired Pres­i­dent and I’d never delved into who he was be­fore that un­til the past year or so work­ing on Madiba the Mu­si­cal.”

Omaji, who spent eight of his for­ma­tive years in Wan­neroo and Carine, said the pro­duc­tion was a cel­e­bra­tion of Nel­son Man­dela’s life, his story and his vi­sion to bring peo­ple of dif­fer­ent races to­gether, even af­ter spend­ing 27 years in prison.

When the mu­si­cal opened in Mel­bourne in Oc­to­ber, it was the first English lan­guage ver­sion fol­low­ing per­for­mances in France, North­ern Africa and the West In­dies.

It was also the first mu­si­cal Omaji had been in since get­ting a lower back stress frac­ture in 2010’s Fame the Mu­si­cal.

“I got thrown into the mu­sic the­atre world the year af­ter So You Think You Can Dance,” he said.

“Fame was a very ac­ro­batic role for me, which was fine but do­ing that eight times a week for six months, a bit of wear and tear starts to go on in your body.

“My dream was al­ways to be a com­mer­cial solo artist (he idolises Michael Jack­son) and my in­jury forced me to fo­cus on that more.

“I be­grudg­ingly went on Aus­tralia’s Got Tal­ent be­cause I didn’t want to go on any other re­al­ity tele­vi­sion shows.

“When you get voted off one, you’re kind of done. But I had peo­ple telling me it was a great plat­form if I wanted to be known as a full round en­ter­tainer.

“So I took an­other risk and I’m glad to say that it paid off and I got a record deal.

“Com­ing full cir­cle, here I am lov­ing mu­sic the­atre and get­ting roles that aren’t re­ally based on my danc­ing at all but based on mu­sic and act­ing.”

Omaji will re­turn to Perth when Madiba the Mu­si­cal has a sea­son at Crown The­atre in Jan­uary, play­ing ac­tivist Sam Ona­tou, with South African per­former Perci Moeketsi in the ti­tle role.

“We take the au­di­ence through how peo­ple were feel­ing at the time and how, through Nel­son’s work and ded­i­ca­tion, South Africa be­came a non­a­partheid coun­try,” he said. “I play an ac­tivist who is out­raged by what’s hap­pen­ing and be­gins to protest and fight. Sam’s for­tune runs out and he gets thrown into prison.

“...Man­dela helps him to re­form his mind on how to fight and it’s not with guns or vi­o­lent protest but through peace and love.”

Tim Omaji (front, cen­tre) in Madiba the Mu­si­cal.

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