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Saturday, July 16, 2016


(Musa Njoko & cast members. Pic by Val Adamson)

In My Own Voice, a courageous new musical by Musa Njoko chronicling her challenges of living with and surviving HIV Aids for 22 years is to be staged in the Playhouse Opera.

Presented by Musa Njoko Music and Entertainment in association with the Playhouse Company, and supported by Ethekwini Municipality, the production will run from July 21 to 24.

Long-term AIDS survivor and activist Musa Njoko, who in 1994 was one of the first people to consciously and publicly disclose her HIV status, has crafted an original musical theatre production which chronicles her astonishing life. In her production entitled In My Own Voice, she shares her triumphs and challenging personal journey as one of the country’s earliest AIDS activists.

Njoko, who is probably one of the only known South African recording artists publicly living with HIV, has created a musical theatre production with original live music which tells her unique and universal story of courage, hope, victory and celebration. Directed by Edmund Mhlongo and choreographed by Delani Makaye and Thami Njoko, In My Own Voice features a cast of 16 performers with a five-piece band under the musical direction of Wanda Kwela.

In creating her ground-breaking new work, Njoko has sought to give expression to the faith that sustained her through her darkest times of feeling abandoned by those around her as she struggled to come to terms with her perilously deteriorating health during the early days of the AIDS pandemic.

Facing the rejection that stemmed from widespread ignorance and prejudice, not least from her close associates, Njoko was even expelled from her church. But she never lost her grip on her religion and the faith which gradually and miraculously enabled her to triumph over her adversity, empowering her with the knowledge that she was meant to share her experience with others, and so help them come to terms with life’s many challenges.

“We live in a world dominated by fear, mistrust and societal fragmentation, where our families are damaged by the hurt of abandonment, unkindness and cruelty,” says Njoko. “We need to build and nurture a conducive environment in which we can all share our past with each other, and heal our hurt through communicating truthfully and learning to understand each other, and by learning to love each other.”

In My Own Voice runs in the Playhouse Opera Theatre with performances on July 21 and 22 at 19h00; on July 23 at 15h00 and 19h00 and on July 24 at 15h00. Tickets R120 (R60 pensioners and students). Booking is through Computicket outlets at branches of Shoprite Checkers, or telephonically on 0861 915 8000, or online at Alternatively, bookings can be made by calling the Playhouse Box Office on 031 369 9540 or 031 369 9596 (office hours). The production has a 12 years PG rating, and its duration is two-and-a-half hours including interval.

“In My Own Voice” is to be staged as part of the AIDS2016 global conference in Durban. Musa Njoko is also a key role player in South African Voices: Towards a Museum of HIV Memory and Learning, the AIDS educational project at Durban’s KwaMuhle Museum which documents a critical and defining chapter in South Africa’s collective history, offering people space to celebrate the achievements and reflect on the journey we have taken since the dark days of denialism and calls to "Break the Silence" at AIDS2000.