By CityLife Arts Writer
South Africa’s trending musicians, Amanda Black, Zoë Modiga, Mandisi Dyantyis and MSAKI are headliners for the 14th Annual Mzansi Fela Festival (MFF) taking place at the South African State Theatre (SAST) this December. Amazing theatre continues with the Afrikaans comedy hit Groet Die Grotman 2, as Mayibuye Community Outreach (MCO) groups return after missing last year’s installment due to hurdles brought by Covid-19. Shaka Zulu: The Gaping Wound and ASKARI productions are set to end on 05 December.
Since its inception in 2007, MFF has arguably established itself as one of the leading arts festivals in the Tshwane Metropolitan and Gauteng province, if not the country at large. The festival presents the most exciting feast of local music, theatre, dance, comedy, and poetry during festive season. It is renowned for showcasing Mzansi’s premium latent and giving platform to developing artists to grow.
The festival launched on 01 December under the theme: The Year of Charlotte Mannya Maxeke: 16 Days of Activism – Moving from Awareness to Accountability,” to continue -under 16 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children- denouncing the rapes, domestic violence, women and children abduction and child murders that have increased in the country according to latest crime stats. Its launch also commemorated World Aids Day, themed “Working Together to End inequalities, AIDS, TB and COVID-19 – Get Tested. Get Vaccinated. Adhere to Treatment.” The SAST in collaboration with Tshwane Leadership Foundation (TLF) offered free HIV testing, covid screening, blood pressure, blood sugar monitoring, STI and TB screening to attendees at the launch.
On 04 December, multiple award-winning Afro-soul singer Amanda Black will perform LIVE in a one-day-only session themed Mnyama Experience, which will see the songstress unveil new music from her latest third studio album Mnyama to a live audience at the theatre. The experience is set to be unique and intimate, allowing fans to experience her music in a new way. Opening acts will include award-winning composer and rapper Bonafide Billi and Afro-soul vocalist Lebo Ditsepu. Tickets cost R250.
The music concerts of Zoë Modiga on 03 December, Mandisi Dyantyis (10 December) and MSAKI (11 December) are presented by SAST in association with Banda Banda Agency under Phinda Mzala concerts series, which is being incorporated into the MFF like last year. The series is a culmination of a call to action to re-live musical experiences centered on the urban African imaginary whilst celebrating stories of identity, social plights such GBV, and the much-needed healing for humanity because of Covid-19 and many other pandemics. Each concert costs R250 to R350.
In Groet die Grotman, written and directed by Frans Swart, the differences between men and women are portrayed in a hilarious way. “Women are still the gatherers (especially of useless information!) and men are still the hunters (from a goat to a television show).” The comedy hit will show from 07 to 12 December.
The MCO programme, formerly known as CADO, is a field project by SAST committed to unearthing performing arts talent rooted in SA’s communities. It does so by scouting amateur community-based groups to join its two-year development process of artistic workshopping. In this first year, these groups will each perform a South African published script, dance, or musical theatre production, prior to writing and presenting their own scripted productions in the second year of the program. When the festival ends on 15 December 2021, the groups will be honored with an awards ceremony.
14th Mzansi Fela Festival Programme
Mayibuye Commmunity Outreach, 01-15 December
Zoe Modiga, 03 December
Amanda Black Mnyama Experience, 04 December
Groet die Grotman 2, 07-12 December
Mandisi Dyantyis, 10 December
MSAKI, 11 December.
All tickets can be obtained from Webtickets- available online, Pick n Pay stores nationwide, and at the SAST’s Box office.