School stages renowned Sarafina musical

RidgePark College learners during the Sarafina rehearsals.

NOT so long ago Shakespeare roamed freely in our classrooms, as most of his work formed part of our school curricular. With the decolonization of education a hot topic in the country, Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga has announced that education authorities are reviewing the school curriculum which will feature a focus on “decolonisation,” reflecting the need to move towards the use of more African and South African novels, drama and poetry.

As part of its 25-year celebrations, Ridge Park College in the Berea is staging Mbongeni Ngema’s world-famous musical Sarafina this Saturday at the school.

The school’s 25th anniversary also coincides with the play which was released 25 years ago. The school has the staging rights for Sarafina but unfortunately it did not get the original score of the play. Mrs P Reddy, one of the teachers at the school who is putting the show together, says not getting the original score put the school at a disadvantage in terms of teaching the children the songs, however that has not hampered the spirits of the learners in delivering an amazing show.

“We have taken all the popular songs from Sarafina and turned it into a bit of a review that is going to be part of the show. We have saved that for the second half, which means that in the first half you can expect a mixture of dance and song and drama. We are taking the best from our senior drama students and presenting that in the first half and the second half will be highlights of all the famous choreography and scenes from Sarafina,” she said.

Former learner and now a teacher at the school, Miss N. Hadebe, who has helped with choreography during rehearsals for the past three months, said she wished the play had been performed while she was a pupil at the school, but wasis happy to be part of the production today.

“What is amazing is the commitment, excitement and and how this play has brought together the learners from all different grades. Even former learners are excited about this and everyone cannot wait to witness it,” she said.

Sarafina is a drama/musical that centres around the students involved in the Soweto Riots, in opposition to the implementation of Afrikaans as the language of instruction in schools during Aparheid. The character Sarafina (Leleti Khumalo) feels shame at her mother’s (Miriam Makeba) acceptance of her role as domestic servant in a white household in apartheid South Africa, and inspires her peers to rise up in protest, especially after her inspirational teacher, Mary Masombuka (Whoopi Goldberg) is imprisoned for protesting.

Grade 11 leaner, Queen Linda who plays the role of Sarafina said she grew up watching Sarafina on TV. “I am happy to now be playing Sarafina. I love how the cast has been ensuring that I am always in top form, it makes me proud that we are telling a story that most of us relate to.”

Another main actor is Mistress (Miss Masombuka), played by Nomcebo Luthuli who says the pressure to play such a big role has brought the best out of her. “Sarafina is great story and seeing that everything has become so westernized, we are excited to be doing this play.”

As their parting shot the learners said the audience should expect the Sarafina they know but with a twist and more energy. For more info on ticket purchases, contact the school on 031 207 3337 or on their Facebook page Ridge Park College.

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