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View the document‘SARAFINA’ - South African comedy comes to Brussels
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‘SARAFINA’ - South African comedy comes to Brussels

The anti-apartheid masterpiece from then ghettoes of Johannesburg

‘Sarafina’, the finest musical comedy troupe from the ghettoes of Johannesburg made its first Brussels appearance at the Cirque Royal on 25-30 April. Invited by the Foundation for ACP-EEC Cultural Cooperation the young black musicians and dancers from South Africa came to the Belgian capital and the European institutions after their triumphs on Broadway, in Paris and in Germany and - most important - after their performance at the signing ceremony for the fourth ACP-EEC Convention in Lomn December 1989.

‘Sarafina’ is an extraordinary story of courage in the face of powerful oppression through law and arms of an entire people. It is also a wonderful story of hope and an expression of the strength of youth - the youth of South Africa before February 1990 (when Nelson Mandela was freed) - against a system whose sole basis was the negation of another part of the South African people.

It was created in early 1986 by Mbongeni Ngema, a black South African, home from the USA where his latest musical comedy ‘Asinamali’, had been a great success ‘off Broadway’ in New York. The point of the show was to give a new dimension to the struggle against apartheid, passing on the message through dance, emotion and laughter - still the best weapon against despair.

Mbongeni Ngema can be content. He has not done at all badly. ‘Sarafina’ has won international fame and, since February 1990, South Africa has finally begun to turn the last page of a not very glorious chapter in its history.

This show is still a poignant way of pointing up the salutary role of history taught through every form of expression. And it is an artistic and cultural masterpiece which is well-worth seeing.

L.P.