Don’t Miss This: National Arts Festival

Music

We Salute Madiba (Rolihlahla) celebrates indigenous song, dance and drama from the diverse people of the Eastern Cape. The material for the show is inspired by the Freedom Charter and the life of Nelson Mandela, who was born in that province. If you are not familiar with Xhosa culture, this show will give you insight into its traditional gear and rituals.

South African bassist and composer Carlo Mombelli is sharing the stage with The Storytellers ensemble, which is made up of Kyle Shepherd on piano, Mbuso Khoza on vocals and Kesivan Naidoo on drums. This show is described as a “manipulated bass and sound design” and promises not to be disappointing, with its assemblage of esteemed names from the local jazz circle. Mombelli has been in the music industry for more than 30 years. If you have never seen him live, make sure you get a taste of his talent at the festival.

Comedy

The festival celebrates the contribution made by satirist Pieter-Dirk Uys to South Africa’s theatre industry by staging a few of his old and new stage productions. The programme includes premieres of African Times and The Echo of a Noise and his previous solo shows, Never Too Naked and A Part Hate, a Part Love. Uys’s three films, Adapt or Dye, Farce about Uys and Skating on Thin Uys, will also be screened.

Theatre

A Doll’s House: Ibsen’s great play and a cast of five great South African actors – Jennifer Steyn as Nora, Martin le Maitre as Torvald, Dawid Minnaar as Dr Rank, Anthea Thompson as Kristine and Rob van Vuuren as Nils, is showing at the festival. It adds up to six reasons in search of sell-out houses and critical acclaim.

Born in the RSA: Thirty years after its workshopped genius wowed South African theatre, the Barney Simon classic returns, opening 30 years and two days after Simon himself died, prematurely, on June 30 1995. Just go see.

The Imagined Land: Malcolm Purkey directing from a Craig Higginson script with theatre luminary Fiona Ramsay sharing the stage with notable newcomers Nat Ramabulana and Janna Ramos-Violante. Enough said.

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