Gib­son kente to be hon­oured in a mu­si­cal

The Gib­son Kente Trib­ute Show will run at the Mar­ket theatre for a limited sea­son from 13-29 April

African Times - - Front Page - MASHUDU SADIKE

The fa­ther of town­ship theatre, the great Gib­son Kente is fi­nally be­ing hon­oured with a mu­si­cal which is set to run at The Mar­ket Theatre this month.

The mu­si­cal trib­ute co­in­cides with the 55th an­niver­sary of Kente’s first play called Manana - The Jazz Prophet which fea­tured cel­e­brated mu­si­cians like Cai­phus Se­menya and Letta Mbulu.

Kente, who moulded ca­reers of South African greats such as Sello Maake Ka Ncube, Siyabonga Twala and Mbon­geni Ngema to name a few, will have his life and legacy show­cased in an en­thu­si­as­tic mu­si­cal di­rected by Makhaola Nde­bele.

“Have you seen Sikhalo the mu­si­cal writ­ten, pro­duced and di­rected by Bra Gib? The mu­sic is amaz­ing, the story line is epic. It is a South African story with story par­al­lels to the Greek play Oedi­pus Rex. It’s re­ally grip­ping and prophetic stuff,” ex­claimed Nde­bele.

“It has been an ex­cit­ing, hum­bling jour­ney but painful at the same time. Painful in a sense that he worked in a hos­tile time dur­ing apartheid and there­fore his con­tri­bu­tion was not as recog­nised as it de­served to have been. This is a homage to the mu­sic, mem­ory and legacy of a South African the­atri­cal great,” Nde­bele said.

Some of Nde­bele’s pre­vi­ous works in­clude The Man­hat­tan Broth­ers Trib­ute and Gone Na­tive, which fea­tured late trum­peter Hugh Masekela.

He feels it is im­per­a­tive and nec­es­sary that giants like Kente are cel­e­brated in lo­cal the­atres and that this trib­ute is a mon­tage of vi­gnette from Kente’s plays and most im­por­tantly show­cases the mu­sic he pro­duced.

Kente, who died in 2004 of ill­ness, pro­duced 23 plays and tele­vi­sion dra­mas be­tween 1963 and 1992. He was also re­spon­si­ble for pro­duc­ing some of the coun­try’s mu­si­cians and many past and pre­sent prom­i­nent artists in­clud­ing the late Brenda Fassie, owe their first op­por­tu­ni­ties on stage to him.

“I first worked with Bra Gib in 1981and my fond­est mem­ory of him was in one of my re­hearsals and the char­ac­ter I played had a very emo­tional monologue. At the end of the monologue I kept on sob­bing and Bra Gib came to me to em­brace me. He said to me in Xhosa, ‘hayi xhegu suyithatha se­ri­ous siyad­lala kaloku (No old man, don’t take it se­ri­ous we are play­ing here).

“I be­lieve the Soweto Theatre should be named after him and have a colos­sal statue of Bra Gib erected in the front of it,” says renowned stage and screen ac­tor Sello Maake Ka Ncube.

The mu­si­cal ti­tled The Gib­son Kente Mu­si­cal is ex­pected to im­merse au­di­ences in beau­ti­fully haunt­ing sounds that Kente him­self or­ches­trated in Dube, Soweto. The mu­sic pro­duc­tion is meant to dis­play lo­cal and raw tal­ent, in true Bra Gib’s style, fea­tur­ing young artists like Billy Langa, Nobantu Baba, Nt­sika Ngxanga and Xoli Mbon­gawana to name but few.

“It’s a spec­tac­u­lar col­lage hon­our­ing his legacy and his ex­cep­tional body of work that was com­posed with a brave stylis­tic artistry driven by an ar­ray of emo­tions. The mu­sic will ig­nite the mem­o­ries of yes­ter­year and the pas­sion that was pos­sessed by Gib­son Kente,” said Lu­sanda Zok­ufa of The Mar­ket Theatre.

–Muku­rukuru Me­dia.

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