The South African State Theatre is excited to announce that Mzansi’s revered musicians: Zonke, Thandiswa Mazwai, Caiphus Semenya, Samthing Soweto and Ringo Madlingozi will headline the 12th Annual Mzansi Fela Festival, which will run from 01 to 22 December 2019 at the biggest theatre complex in Africa, the State Theatre.
Like in the past, Mzansi Fela’s programme this year will also kickstart by first observing World Aids Day on 01 December. KWANELE, a new production commissioned by the Department of Arts and Culture in reaction to the wake of xenophobic attacks and gender-based violence will also open on the day. The festival will be preceded by the continuation of campaigns of 16 Days of Theatre Activism Against Gender Based Violence which would have started on 24 November, ending on 10 December.
Having been curated in 2017’s edition with his partner Letta Mbulu during their 50th wedding anniversary, legendary jazz maestro Caiphus Semenya’s feature in this year’s Mzansi Fela is solely a tribute presentation to celebrate his 80 years birthday. He turned 80 in August. As a token of recognition, the State Theatre wishes to appreciate his iconic contribution to the country’s arts industry whilst he is still alive. His concert is on 08 December.
One of the methods that inform Mzansi Fela Festival’s line up -the public will be excited to know- it’s public opinion. Upon announcing last year’s selection, a survey was conducted on which artists the public wishes to experience in the festival. Singer and songwriter Zonke Dikana, known simply as Zonke, whom is billed to launch the festival on 01 December, received an overwhelming demand from fans- So did Thandiswa Mazwai, who is also backed by insatiable popular demand for her performance on 13 December. Zonke’s 2018 album LOVE recently went platinum. “Thank you to each and everyone of you for supporting me! My album has gone Platinum,” she announced on her Facebook account on Friday, 11 October 2019.
Samthing Soweto heads to this installation with his trending debut album Isiphithiphithi, which he released in September. He became the first local musician to simultaneously top Apple Music’s album and singles charts with his hit Akulaleki and new album. On 22 December he will share a stage with the multiplatinum selling Ringo. Other notable concerts (not produced by SAST) that will be taking place during Mzansi Fela include: Simphiwe Dana Symphony Experience on 07 December, and Hillsong from 09 to 13 December.
Under the Mzansi Fela banner, there is the Community Arts Dramaturgy Outreach (CADO) Programme, which is the legacy project of the festival. Its emphasis is on the development of undiscovered talent rooted in communities, especially remote from the arts hubs. Each year, SAST’s Education Youth Children Theatre (EYCT) department branches out to communities in provinces including Limpopo, Northwest, Mpumalanga, Kwa-Zulu-Natal and Gauteng municipalities to source community theatre groups to feature in CADO. However, there is an exciting twist in this year’s programme. The best group will be awarded a season in the theatre’s 2020 Main Programme. CADO will run from 01 to13 December.
Since its inception in 2007, Mzansi Fela Festival has become one of the most anticipated festivals of the year in the Tshwane Metropolitan and Gauteng province, if not the country at large. The festival presents the most exciting feast of music, theatre, dance, comedy and poetry in South Africa. An occasion that started as a five-day event, has now developed to attract more than 10 000 people annually. It is popular for offering Mzansi’s premium talent, giving platform to the grinding up-and-comings while acknowledging artistic powerhouses that have paved the way.
In conclusion, the State Theatre wishes to acknowledge Pretoria News newspaper as the print media partner for the 12th annual Mzansi Fela Festival. The theatre is excited about this collaboration and looks forward to many more of partnerships of this nature.
Mzansi Fela Festival Programme Guide
-Zonke| 01 December| 15:00|R300-R500
-CADO| 01-13 December| Various times| R30
-Kwanele| 01 – 15 December| Various times |R100-R150
-Simphiwe Dana Symphony Experience| 07 December| 20:00| R500-R1000
-Caiphus Semenya| 08 December |15:00|R250-R400
-Hillsong| 09- 13 December| Various times| R50
-Thandiswa Mazwai| 13 December | 20:00| R200-R350
-Samthing Soweto and Ringo Madlingozi| 22 December|15:00|R200-R300
-16 Days of Theatre Activism Against Gender Based Violence| 24 November- 10 December| Various Times|Free-R100
Tickets are obtainable at Webtickets- available online and over the counter at Pick n Pay outlets nationwide.