A tale of journey for peace

Zanele Mbatha and Zoleka Mpotsha in A Man of Good Hope.

Musical A Man of Good Hope, based on the book by Johnny Steinberg and adapted by Isango Ensemble, will be on the Baxter Flipside stage from Wednesday August 10 to Saturday August 20, at 7.30pm.

The production premiered at the District Six Museum in Cape Town earlier this year and ran for three weeks of sold out performances. Inspired by a true story, the musical piece traces one young man’s flight from civil war in his childhood, from Somalia through the African continent, to seek new opportunities in South Africa. But as he arrives, horrific xenophobic violence erupts sending the country and his plans into chaos.

Directed by Isango’s artistic director Mark Dornford-May and performed mainly through music, this new stage adaptation of Steinberg’s book features haunting marimbas and vocal performances. The company is made up of both classically trained and untrained singers with an ensemble that includes Pauline Malefane, Ayanda Eleki, Zamile Gantana, Zanele Mbatha, Katlego Mmusi, Zoleka Mpotsha, Busisiwe Ngejane, Sonwabo Ntshata, Luvo Rasemeni, Masakane Sotayisi, Luvo Tamba and Ayanda Tikolo. The show will later jet off for its UK premier at The Young Vic in London.

The production marks the first ever collaboration between the Cape Town-based Isango Ensemble, The Young Vic, The Royal Opera, Repons Foundation, BAM and Les Théâtres De La Ville De Luxembourg.

David Lan, the Young Vic’s artistic director, said he knew he wanted to bring the story to the stage before he finished reading the book, which he received as a Christmas gift in 2014. “The idea I had is the journey through Africa, through the different musical styles, expressing the incredible cultural diversity of that continent.”

The conductor is Mandisi Dyantyis, musical direction is by Dyantyis and Pauline Malefane, movement is by Lungelo Ngamlana and lighting design by Mannie Manim. Book through Computicket. For corporate, block or school bookings, charities and fundraisers, contact Sharon Ward on 021 680 3962 or sharon.ward@uct.ac.za