By CityLife Arts Writer
The poignant story of unsung liberation struggle heroes will be unravelled when the hard-hitting film Angola Camp-13 premieres on the big screens on 24 September 2021. Having been well received by theatre audiences, subsequently soaring critical acclaim with six Naledi Theatre Awards, Angola Camp 13’s access and demand inquiry has been resolved by the deal to showcase it for a greater audience at selected Ster-Kinekor Theatre (SKT) cinemas nationwide. Its screening is courtesy of the ongoing collaboration between the South African State Theatre (SAST) and SKT to screen theatre productions in cinema.
Written and directed by multiple award-winning playwright and director Sello Maseko, Angola Camp 13 recounts what took place in the camps of struggle heroes during training in Angola. At the height of apartheid in South Africa, members of the liberation movement, Majoro, Kgotso, John and Makinta, together with a generation of their time flee the country to join the arms struggle in Angola. Their mission is to attain freedom. During their revolutionary route, an enemy agent infiltrates them, and they all lose one important aspect of the revolution, Trust! This film exposes the corruption, greed, betrayal, and sacrifices that took place in the camps.
The stage-to-screen film features actors: Soyiso Ndaba (as Majoro Mnisi), Abongile Matyutyu (John Motokolo), Thulani Michael Ramohototoane (Makinta Tshwene), Kagiso Matlala (Kgotso Tshwene), and Phethile Sibanyoni (Sizwe Manzini). Its exhilarating choreography was created by Mdu Nhlapo, in synchronisation with the score directed by Cromwell Modise Modungwa.
Maseko comments: “The story of Angola is a national asset. The entire country must access this important story of our time. I am honoured to be the one who wrote this story on behalf of the voiceless people who participated in the mutiny of 1984 fighting for our freedom in the camps. The freedom which they fought and died for is not yet uhuru in our land. With this screening, the story will reach the victims, participants and combatants who are nobodies and do not feature in our democracy today. This story is for them and their families that need to know what happened to their loved ones.”
Angola Camp 13’s journey started in 2018 at the SAST’s Incubator Programme, a development programme aimed at preparing semi-professional artists for the mainstream industry. The following year it toured to the National Arts Festival where it sparked great interest upon its homecoming showcase at the State theatre. In 2020 It scooped six Naledi Theatre Awards including Best Production of a Musical, Best Director of a Musical, Best Ensemble, Best Original Score, Best Choreography, and Best Sound Design.
Maseko is an extraordinary award-winning playwright who has been around and seen it all from the community level to mainstream. He is a pan Africanist at heart and yet open for an ideology that is progressive, not oppressive to his people. He was born in Winterveldt north of Pretoria. His performing arts career started in 2008 under the development program of the SAST.
Angola Camp 13 will screen from 24 September until 17 October in SKT cinemas including Musgrave (Durban), Sterland and Brooklyn (Pretoria), Newtown and Rosebank Nouveau (Johannesburg), Cavendish (Cape Town), and Baywest (Gqeberha). Tickets can be purchased at SKT Cinemas and online on the website www.sterkinekor.com