Umshado at South African State Theatre


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The South African State Theatre presents Umshado- “Marriage of Heritage” choreographed by Bogosi Bolokwe Ratladi.

“Beautiful Singing and Sharp Choreography – The Star Tonight”
“Culture Rich & Enthralling- New Age”.

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UmshadoA musical celebrating various cultures and capturing the magic of African people and the raw beauty reinforcing social cohesion and African Renaissance. Very rich in African heritage! A celebration that will confront who we are, where we come from, and we are going as Africans.

“Umshado” tells the story of a young man’s journey from his roots in the kraal of Moruleng to the Shantytown of Mamelodi ya Tshwane (Pretoria). The play opens during the ceremonial preparation for his entrance into manhood and it captures the initiation, rite of passage of a Tswana boy.

The story continues from his initiation to love and marriage, confronted by the traditional practice of lobola. The young man, as many before him, has to leave his village to find work in the city. On his arrival in Mamelodi he becomes a bricklayer, for the first time he makes contact with people of other races, cultures, traditions and languages. He is amazed by the ability of these people from various cultures to work productively together. He learns about their music and enjoys a repertoire of performance styles that carried strong and rich traditional melodies.

He eventually falls in love with a Zulu girl. After experiencing a western wedding in a church he decides he should remain true to tradition. He arranges with his elders “Abakhongi” to negotiate and offer lobola on his behalf. The bride’s father becomes adamant that he will not allow his Zulu daughter to wed Tswana, eventually “Emissaries” settles the dispute and manages to unite the two families. The groom invites his newly found friends from the city to the wedding, then it’s a celebration.

Umshado is a potpourri of African heritage music and dance that includes Zulu, Nguni, Xhosa and Tswana languages, and African folk songs. “isiBhaca” dance rhymes to Sesotho “isRashiya” concertina music that contains raw poems of the Basotho, closely linked to concertina music, it is a complex repertoire of guitar styles that emerged from within the ranks of young migrants and domestics workers called “ukuvamba” which was anchored by “Boere” guitar techniques. Marabi, kwela and indunduma music are in abundance, the songs are accompanied by the origin of different dances like “Thula Ndivile” “isishameni” and “isikhuze” to name a few.

The choreographer, Ratladi started his career in 1979 as an actor and traditional dancer. Went to dance school in Pretoria (Body Talk) to learn Modern Jazz dance under Andre Van Der Nest, carried on taking acting and technique lessons from Gibson Kente, produced ‘Kwela Bafana’ at Sun City Galaxy Show Bar and constructed Sibikwa Theatre in Benoni. His works amongst many include;

  • UmshadoUmoja – The spirit of Togetherness
  • Sing Africa Dance, NEPAD Musical
  • Sarafina (Musical of liberation) Mbongeni Ngema
  • Mother of Rain (Mmapule) Aubrey Sekhabi
  • Rocky Horror Show (Victory Theatre)
  • Joyous Celebration 8&9
  • The Zulu (Mbongeni Ngema)
  • Siyagiya Music Extravaganza (Mbongeni Ngema)
  • Soweto Gospel Choir.

Of course, it is not the first time Umshado stages at the South African State Theatre. The previous time it staged here was in 2014 and it was well embraced. The people loved it and surely they cannot wait to watch it again.

SAST will be opening big, the musical to premiere on 18 November 2016. Everyone is invited to the opening – The show caters across all ages. Theatre lovers can enjoy a preview of the show on 17 November 2016. “It is through Umshado that no matter how different we are as Africans, we can unite, to fight the common problems we are facing as the whole nation – Ratladi”

Producer and Author: Bogosi Bolokwe Ratladi

Cast: Eddie Mathiba (Musical composer and Director), Lennox Sibisi (Choreographer), Matshidiso Mokoka (Assistant Choreographer), Bonginkosi R Madondo, Mfundo Emmanuel Msibi, Sibusiso Meyiwa, Funeka Simelane, Ntokozo Hazel Mhlaba, Tumelo Seleke, Simphiwe Sanele Skhakhane, Sibusiso Shozi, Thabang Joseph Nape, Themba Khambule, Palesa Sello, Sandile Sithebe, Jacob Bheki Moiloa, Lebo Mawela, Nokuthula Semela, Nobuhle Mazibuku, Charles Langa, Constance Masuku, Dikeledi Modubu, Freedom Mswane, Tshidiso Mpobole, Aphiwe Dumeko and Pat Musa Mlaba (Narrator).

Band: Bonisile Lesley Dokolwana, Mfana Penuel Phangisa, Mzwakhe ‘Muzi’ Radebe, Sphiwe Mgemezulu.

Dates: 17 – 26 November 2016
Time: 20:00
Tickets can be obtained at Computicket.
Prices: R40 on Tuesdays, R80 on Wednesday – Thursday and R100 on Friday – Saturday.