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Wednesday, December 3, 2014


Now based in Johannesburg, Opera Africa has its roots in Durban.

Twenty years of democracy and Opera Africa’s 20th anniversary is celebrated with a new, contemporary African opera with the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund as the major sponsor.

What other story is there to tell? The life of Nelson Rolihlala Mandela is to be immortalised in a new opera that will be premiered in South Africa and internationally in 2014.

The Struggle is my Life (a work-in-progress) has been commissioned by Opera Africa, with a R3 million grant from the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund (NLDTF).

The opera is being created in collaboration with the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory at the Nelson Mandela Foundation which is providing access to the Mandela archives as well as authenticating the libretto.

A creative team grappled to establish an insightful concept for the opera stage, based on a text The Struggle is my Life by the renowned poet and librettist Themba Msimang; who also provided the mould for the composers of Princess Magogo and Ziyankomo and the Forbidden Fruit

Composer and musician Neo Muyanga, a member of the creative team and equally at home with jazz and classical music genres, will write and orchestrate the opera in its final form. Muyanga draws inspiration from traditional Sesotho and Zulu music which he fuses with the melismatic style of Ethiopia, jazz and western classical music.

“With Opera Africa celebrating its 20th birthday next year, and, at the same time, the celebration of the 20th year of our democracy, our third opera on the life of Madiba just felt right,” says Opera Africa CEO, Sandra de Villiers. “We plan to bring the passion and the grandeur of the Mandela epic on stage with a stellar cast in 2014 at one of our state-of-the-art theatres.”

For further information contact Opera Africa on 011 883 4189 or e-mail: