Running from September 8 to 13 at the Hexagon Theatre on the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Pietermaritzburg is the South African theatre classic, Sarafina.
Before there was Sarafina the movie, there was Sarafina the play. Presented by the UKZN Drama Department, this critically acclaimed Broadway musical was written by award-winning actor/director/ playwright, Mbongeni Ngema, who also choreographed, produced and composed music for the stage play when it first hit New York stages in the 1980s.
The play is set in Soweto, specifically at Morris Isaacson High School, where students of 1976 protested against the imposition of using Afrikaans as a medium of instruction in township schools.
Led by a fierce young woman, known as Sarafina, who is committed to the struggle against apartheid, they brave teargas and police shootings, all in an attempt to fight for justice and freedom in the education system that they were subjected to at the time.
Through narrative, song and dance, the production makes difficult political issues accessible. The play comes alive through performances by a vibrant young cast of second and third year drama students in the department and forms part of the department’s annual student production. They are also joined by three students from the Creative Arts College and one pupil from Girls High school.
The production is directed by Ntokozo Madlala, a lecturer in the drama department, with musical direction by TChristian, a rising musical producer who performed at this year’s Pietermaritzburg Jazz Festival and a former drummer for Simphiwe Dana.
Choreography is by Brenda Lee Cele who manages Accoustic Assassins and directed And the Girls in their Sunday Dresses earlier this year. The production also features lecturer in the department, Ayanda Khala Phiri, who brings a seasoned colourful performance to the supporting role of Teaspoon. The role of Sarafina is shared by Nandile Khumalo and Zazi Kunene.
Showtimes are 6.30 pm on Thursday, September 8, Friday, September 9 and Saturday, September 10 and at 3 pm on Sunday, September 11.
Tickets R100 (concessions R50 to R80). Book at http://www.webtickets.co.za or at selected Pick n Pay stores.