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Tuesday, April 16, 2013


(Faca Kulu as Jesus Christ. Pic by Val Adamson)

The African Passion returns to Durban where it will have seven performances (including a show for schools) from April 24 to 28 at the Thunder Dome at the DCC Jesus Dome in Mayville.

Presented by Catalina UnLtd in Durban and funded by the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund, this gospel opera-musical toured major South African cities over the Easter period.

The Passion of Christ is brought to life in a sung-through music featuring original, innovative gospel-inspired songs. The story is based on the Gospel according to St John and is a choral masterwork featuring close to a hundred voices on stage in every city. The tour included Durban, Port Elizabeth, Cape Town, Soweto, Johannesburg and Mafeking before returning to Durban.

The libretto is written by Themi Venturas and the music is composed by celebrated and award-winning gospel choral composer Phelelani Mnomiya; Anthony Govender of Destiny Music and the Young Mbazo, grandchildren of the world-renown acappella group, Ladysmith Black Mambazo.

Under the direction of Themi Venturas the show features Bonginkhosi ‘Faca’ Kulu (The Lion King in New York) as Jesus, Natalia da Rocha (original Natasha in Jimbo) as his mother Mary, Sharon Dee as Mary Magdalene, Grant Jacobs (Durban actor now based in Cape Town) as Simon Peter, Dewaldt Von Solms (of the popular singing duo Von West) as Pontius Pilate.

Caitlin Kilburn (remembered for her stellar performance as Aldonza in Man of La Mancha) is Pilate’s wife; Blessing Xaba (seen as Fatty in the movie of John van de Ruit’s Spud) as Caiaphas, Aubrey Lodewyk (last seen in Handel’s Messiah and the Mandela Trilogy) as Annas and a host of other superb singers featuring the isicathamiya group Young Mbazo.

The cast of 21 are supplemented in Durban by the Umlazi Oasis Church Choir and the Clermont Choir.

The African Passion plays out against a spectacular audiovisual background using the latest in modern AV technology in costumes designed by Nompumelelo Mkhize. Choreography is by Daisy Spencer and vocal direction by DesireƩ Govender. Bookings are at Computicket.

A full seven performances will take place at the Thunder Dome @ DCC Jesus Dome in Mayville from April 24 to 28. Performances Wednesday to Saturday at 19h00 with a Sunday performance at 14h00 as well as a matinee on Saturday at 14h00. Tickets R100 @ Computicket.

There will be a schools performance on the Thursday at 10h00. Tickets R50 through Ailsa Windsor on 083 250 2690 or

The African Passion is produced by Catalina UnLtd in Durban and funded by the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund. It is supported by Safm; The Daily News / Argus / Star Tonight; Vuma 103 FM and DSTV channels: One Gospel Television; Dumisa TV; Soweto TV; 1KZN TV and Nelson Mandela Bay TV.