Madiba the African Opera returns on stage as part of the UNITE Campaign to celebrate Tata Mandela’s Legacy

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27 Oct 2015

After its world premiere in May 2014, Madiba the African Opera returns on stage for its second run on the 27 November 2015 at the State Theatre, Pretoria. In partnership with the South African State Theatre through their MzansiFela Festival, powered by the Department of Arts and Culture’s Mzansi Golden Economy; the producers, Opera South Africa, promises a bigger and better production this time around.

The Mzansi Golden Economy strategy seeks to reposition the arts, culture and heritage sector as a key player in government’s programme of action towards creation of sustainable jobs, building audiences and skills development.

Madiba, the African Opera launches in November as part of the UNITE campaign: One Man, One Nation, One Celebration in honour of the late former President Nelson Mandela’s unwavering commitment to justice, equality, non-racialism, social cohesion, nation building, selflessness and service to humanity. The show runs until 02 December 2015, a day after the launch of Reconciliation Month in South Africa and also in the anniversary week of Madiba’s passing, reminding us to embrace the common ties that bind us rather than focus on that which divides us as a nation.

The Minister of Arts and Culture, Nathi Mthethwa believes there is a new story to be told. “The imagining of Africa is a necessary project as we create a new Africa; We need more stories and more opportunities to occupy more spaces to deepen the African worldview of our people. Our stories tell us about our place in the world and the truths of our realities.

They give us the freedom to extend the definitions of who we are and what we can do to make our vantage point a richer and freer space,” he said.

South Africa is viewed as one of the greatest theatres of struggle; we have to continuously tell stories that move South Africa through theatre, dance, song, poetry, oral narratives and other art forms so that we reinforce our collective memory and promote national identity.

Speaking to the creator and librettist, Unathi Mtirara, “when we first staged this work in 2014, it was a trial period for all of us, we had a dream and a vision to make this work, we did not know how it would be received by the singers first, the audience and the general public, the feedback we received from those who came to see it was overwhelming, we now know where to fix and make it even bigger and better.”

South African born, based in Germany, Caroline Nkwe returned to South Africa to take the time of Winnie Mandela with Mpumalanga born, Cape Town based Given Nkosi joining the cast as Justice Mtirara, Nonhlanhla Yende and Thabang Senekal will continue with their roles respectively as Nosekeni and Nelson Mandela, there will as well be other new faces that will take up the roles, the production is directed by Unathi Mtirara and the Chamber Orchestra of Johannesburg will be conducted by Kutlwano Masote, with a 60 member Opera South Africa Chorus.

“Local content promotes cultural diversity and encourages social cohesion. At the same time it nurtures cultural expressions and encourages local languages and idioms,” said Minister Mthethwa.

For more information, contact the Spokesperson to the Minister: Ms Lisa Combrinck at 082 821 4886/ or Mr. Unathi Mtirara, producer/director, at 071 320 7987/

Issued by the Department of Arts and Culture