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Thursday, July 29, 2010


(Pic: Abigail Kubeka)

Three guest stars to pay tribute to the late Busi Mhlongo on July 30.

The internationally celebrated musical, African Mamas, marks the official opening this Friday (July 30) of the 14th South African Women’s Arts Festival at The Playhouse in Durban.

Three legendary Jazz stars, Abigail Kubeka, Thandi Klaasen and Dorothy Masuka, are set to make guest appearances in memory of Busi Mhlongo ... singing alongside the cast of African Mamas during the South African premiere performance only. Each of the three has achieved megastar status in their long careers, and they remain among the most revered singers in the South African musical firmament. Each is widely regarded as a role model for younger artists.

Their appearance alongside the younger generation stars of African Mamas speaks volumes about their deep regard for ‘Sis Busi’, as the late lamented Ms Mhlongo was affectionately known to the many artists. For Kubeka, with whom she shared the stage on many occasions, particularly on the Jazz festival circuit, “she was my younger sister”.

African Mamas features ten strong modern women, dressed in African haute couture, showing a young girl the road to adulthood. The brilliant production toured Europe, playing to packed houses in more than 300 performances. Directed by Leoni Jansen and designed by Andrew Botha and Stan Knight, the vibrant Afro-beat stage piece is performed by a starry line-up of female South African artists who put their collective stamp on a sequence of emotionally charged songs which tell intriguing African stories.

In their performance, the cast conjure up the Africa today - the Africa of challenges and possibilities, the energetic and creative Africa that conquers any problem…the Africa where strong women take responsibility for living, education, solidarity and social cohesion. Coupled with a live band, this production is a celebration of strong women who take responsibility in life.

The powerhouse cast includes Vicky Vilakazi, Londiwe Mthembu, Silindile Ntini, Nomasonto Khumalo, Amo Chidi, Aveline Twala, Nompumelelo Nhlapho, Mulalo Mudau, Lucia Gumede and Mercy Meruti. Tickets R80 and R95 (R35 scholars). Booking through Computicket on 083 915 8000 or Playhouse Box Office on 031-369 9540 (office hours).

African Mamas runs in the Playhouse Drama Theatre from July 30 to August 8.