Winnie Mandela to attend musical Sarafina

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Nelson Mandela's ex-wife Winnie Madikizela-Mandela arrives at a ceremony to honour Mandela by the African chiefs, kings and queens at Freedom Park in Pretoria November 5, 2009. Freedom Park is a memorial for those who sacrificed their lives for the freedom of South Africa. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko (SOUTH AFRICA SOCIETY)
Nelson Mandela’s ex-wife Winnie Madikizela-Mandela arrives at a ceremony to honour Mandela by the African chiefs, kings and queens at Freedom Park in Pretoria November 5, 2009. Freedom Park is a memorial for those who sacrificed their lives for the freedom of South Africa. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko (SOUTH AFRICA SOCIETY)

Winnie Madikizela Mandela, who inspired Mbongeni Ngema’s musical Sarafina, will attend a performance at the SA State Theatre on Friday.

Many don’t know how the story Sarafina came about. Well, it was a conversation between the writer and director Mbongeni Ngema and friend, Winnie Madikizela Mandela. “That evening, I was standing in Winnie Mandela’s kitchen as she was busy preparing supper for her children,” says Ngema.

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“I asked her a question, Mama, what do you think would happen when we finally face the boere army… the SA Defence force?

“Mbongeni, I wish I have a big blanket to cover the faces of the little ones, so that they do not see the bitter end,” Winnie replied.

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 centrepiece for my work. From that day I started writing the script and composing music. The results became the blockbuster musical Sarafina.”

Sarafina opens in style - Credit: Sanmari Marais
Sarafina!
Photo by Sanmari Marais

Mama Winnie has made an appointment to attend Friday night’s Sarafina LIVE performance at the State Theatre. Representatives of the Martin Luther King Foundation that supported the powerhouse musical when it took Broadway by storm will be among the dignitaries. Somizi Mhlongo, the initial choreographer of the musical, who subsequently appeared in the film version of Sarafina, will also attend. Show starts 20:00. It will be a Night of Stars!

Sarafina returned to the stage with a new lead actress, Noxolo Dlamini, who is filling the shoes of the former Sarafina, Leleti Khumalo. The 23-year-old holds a B.A. in Dramatic Arts from the University of Pretoria. She has recently been commended for her performance. The show received critical acclaim after opening on March 10 to a full house of government and business heads, celebrities, and media. Minister in the Presidency, Jeff Radebe, was there, the newly crowned Miss SA 2017, Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters and other runner-ups were also spotted.

The musical runs at SAST from Tuesdays to Sundays till May. The full show schedule is available at Computicket with tickets from R100 to R180.

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