Mbongeni Ngema Working On A New Theatre Show About Nelson Mandela. The brains behind the hit play Sarafina! Mbongeni Ngema is once again working his creation on a new play that will be paying tribute to one of the late South African heroes Nelson Mandela.
“I am writing as we speak. I am working on my new musical based on the life and times of Nelson Mandela. It is something that I have wanted to do for a long time, but with the centenary celebrations of Mandela’s life, I thought it was a great time to get started on it. This story needs to be told.” he said Speaking to TshisaLIVE.
Mbongeni said that it was time South Africa take the lead in celebrating Tata and appreciate how much of an impact he made.
“He is the greatest icon since Jesus Christ. There has never been anyone that embodies peace and unity like him. If you look at the world today, it is filled with violence and war. Mandela came and spoke about love and peace when no one expected him to do so, after his years in jail. He is the world’s statesman, but he was born here. We should be the ones beating the drum first.”
The production will take to stage next year, with casting still to take place. Mbongeni said it would be a difficult decision to decide on talent to play Mandela through a number of historic moments.
“You can’t only show his life after his release. For me, the moment that is special is when he is taken from prison to the docks as part of the Rivonia Trial. He faced the life sentence. So if you think of an actor to play that part and then all the way until he is released from prison, it is not a easy decision on who to cast. It is going to be a challenge.”
Mbongeni also gave praise to industry veterans like Steve Kekana and John Kani as some of the finest performers to ever grace our stages, but said the next generation needed to be more willing to learn from veterans.
“What frustrates me the most is that young artists don’t want to learn from us who have been in this industry for a while. I remember when I started out I learnt so much from Gibson Kente. I decided to go live at his house to learn how he wrote music and everything about him. I don’t see enough young people wanting to learn. I feel like the thirst to learn is lacking in today’s generation.”
Ngema is one of the few music veterans to be honoured with Lifetime Achievement Award at the upcoming SAMA awards taking place on the second of June in SunCity.