By: Thakgatso Setseta
This heritage month, the South African State Theatre’s (SAST) online programme presents season 05, which will be headlined by the award-winning Jazz music sensation, Zoë Modiga -in a virtual music concert- as well as the culture and heritage enthusiast, and revered musician Mbuso Khoza, performing Amahubo In Concert. Added to the rich line-up is the archival footage of the renowned story of the late Fela Kuti chronicled in a musical play entitled Fela and The Kalakuta Queens, performed at the State Theatre in 2019.
The State Theatre will be Zoë Modiga’s first stop for a ‘full piece performance’ in 2020. Due to the theatre not being ready to open its doors to the public, fans and music lovers can experience her performance from the comfort of their homes. The concert will premiere on 27 September 2020 at 15:00, on SAST’s online platform. Tickets cost R70 to R100 with early bird special running until 31 August 2020 at Webtickets.
Zoë Modiga is an artist who represents the present and future of South African music drawing from the roots of African storytelling, Jazz composition and Motown soul but creating a sound entirely her own in order to communicate an evolving African sound without losing its essence. Zoë has collaborated with some of South Africa’s finest musicians including Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Thandiswa Mazwai, Johnny Clegg, Simphiwe Dana, Louis Maholo, Tshepo Tshola and many more.
On Heritage Day, 24 September, patrons can enjoy the premiere of Amahubo In Concert, where Mbuso Khoza will feature singer Zawadi Yamungu. Khoza says the event seeks to encourage people to embrace and fall in love with their histories. “The concert comes as a call for the preservation of our heritage, while encouraging Africans to stay in love with who they are, and where they come from.”
“This symposium is aimed at reminding people about the importance of heritage. Amahubo are the songs of the ancients. They are at the center of our spiritual lives, our historical lives. Even our religious lives. They carry messages of the past, warning us about the present,” says Khoza.
When the SAST brought Fela and The Kalakuta Queens from Nigeria last year, many had little chance to experience the renowned story because of its short season. Fortunately, the historic performance was captured and archived. From 07 to 30 September 2020, patrons will have an opportunity to stream the acclaimed musical.
Fela and The Kalakuta Queens chronicles the complicated life and times of the late legendary musician, Fela Anikulapo Kuti, also known as Fela Kuti, or simply Fela. From birth to life as a defiant and uncompromising social activist, a flamboyant musical maestro and his historic marriage to his 27 wives (known as the Queens), the story of Fela and his Kalakuta Queens is a compelling one, while at the same time deeply moving and emotionally engaging. It travels through the honest and selfless love the icon had with his dancers (Queens) who left their homes to follow him, believing in his vision of building a better community through arts and music. The musical is written and directed by the award-winning Nigerian theatre-maker Bolanle Austen-Peters.
Another musical extravaganza brought to theatre lovers in season 05 is SNEEUWITJIE, an Afrikaans version of the pantomime Snow-White. The popular tale of Snow-White this time is told in Afrikaans and it’s directed by Ferdinand Gernandt. It features over 80 students (from the Afrikaanse Hoër Meisieskool, Pretoria) in the cast led by Carmen van der Walt (as Sneeuwitjie), Inge Breytenbach (Evil Queen) and Mondrey Smit, under musical directorship of Eddie Clayton leading a live orchestra. SNEEUWITJIE will stream from 06 to 27 September 2020.
On 25 September 2020, The State Theatre in association with SANAP will host a webinar that will focus on the importance of indigenous languages in the professional space, under the topic: Art in Our Languages- Cultivating Stories Preserving Our Languages. Moderated by actor, producer, and cultural activist Karabo Kgokong, the webinar will feature Lebo Leisa, Sabata Mokae and Mandla Mbothwe on the panel. The webinar is free.
Patrons are encouraged to subscribe to the SAST YouTube channel to watch all productions presented in season 05. All tickets can be purchased from Webtickets. Webtickets is the appointed ticketing agent for SAST.