Virginia Keppler
2 minute read
3 Apr 2017
5:15 am

As Sarafina! carries on its run, Winnie says she’s still waiting for freedom

Virginia Keppler

Madikizela-Mandela is understood to be among those wanting Zuma to go.

AFP/File / Stephane de Sakutin
The former wife of Nelson Mandela, Winnie Mandela Madikizela, attends a mass in memory of late South African president's Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg on December 8, 2013

Struggle stalwart Winnie Madikizela-Mandela says real freedom is still coming.

She was speaking after Mbongeni Ngema’s musical Sarafina! at the State Theatre in Pretoria.

“For me, it was very nostalgic and I think the performance was absolutely wonderful, stunning,” said Madikizela-Mandela.

“I cannot believe that anyone can recreate something to this extent. It is as relevant today as it was all those years ago and the songs are so relevant.

“Real freedom is still coming,” she said, with a distant look in her eyes.

Madikizela-Mandela was among the ANC leaders to reportedly push for President Jacob Zuma’s resignation last year. Others included the late ANC heavyweight Ahmed Kathrada.

The new Sarafina is played by the talented 23-year-old Noxolo Dlamini, who holds a BA in dramatic arts from the University of Pretoria. She has a striking resemblance to the original Sarafina, played by Leleti Khumalo.

The talented crew is energetic and they manage to take the audience back to those dark years when the majority of South Africans were oppressed. You see the hurt and destruction, you feel the pain and experience the joy. But most of all, you believe in the hope of a free future. So it was natural when the audience sang Freedom is Coming Tomorrow, along with the crew.

Ngema said it was Madikizela-Mandela who inspired him to write Sarafina! following a conversation one night between the two of them.

“That evening, I was standing in Winnie Mandela’s kitchen as she was busy preparing supper for her children,” Ngema told The Citizen.

Ngema asked her: “Mama, what do you think would happen when we finally face the Boere army … the SA Defence Force?”

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

Ngema said that as he drove home that evening, those words echoed in his mind and he started hearing the voices of students singing Freedom is Coming Tomorrow.

“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!,” Ngema said.

Thakgatso Setseta, marketing manager at the State Theatre, said Sarafina! would be the longest African musical run in the history of the State Theatre.

– virginiak@citizen.co.za

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