South African gospel opera 'The African Passion' goes on nationwide tour

South African gospel opera ‘The African Passion’ goes on nationwide tour

Durban’s Umlazi, Port-Elizabeth, Mafikeng, Cape Town and Johannesburg will be the first stages for The African Passion gospel opera musical as they embark on an exciting nationwide Easter tour.

Siphindile Myeni, Sheila Mkhize, Caitlin Kilburn, Sharon Dee and their teammates comprising a 21-strong cast and 60-strong choir playing anything from gospel to R’n’B, Isicathamiya (traditional Zulu rhythms), blues and opera have promised to cook up the emotions, melancholy, energetic vibes and joy in one pot to deliver it in one plate to the country’s audiences in a manner they have seen before.

The tour kicks off on 14 March (World Premiere and additional four shows until 17 March) at the Durban’s Umlazi Oasis Fellowship Centre. It is coming to P-E on 21-24 March, going to Cape Town on 28-31 March, and landing at the Soweto Theatre on 5-7 April.

Other Johannesburg fans can catch it at the Joburg Theatre on 11-14 April, and the North West welcomes the shows at the Mmabatho Civic Centre on 21-24 April 2013.

All this thanks to Durban-based Catalina UnLtd and the indefatigable support of the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund.

“It is a wonderful project with fantastic music, exciting new performers, a great energy and an interesting mix of music genres,” Natalia da Rocha, who plays Jesus’ mother Mary in the production, said as the team was busy rehearsing.

“It is exciting to be grappling with something brand new. The music speaks volumes – it is phenomenal. It is great that we are working with music by six composers. When you leave the theatre you are going to be humming their tunes,” da Rocha added.

The libretto (words or lines) is written by Themi Venturas and the music is composed by Phelelani Mnomiya, Anthony Govender (of Destiny Music) and the Young Mbazo (grandchildren of world-renown accapella group, Ladysmith Black Mambazo).

Cast members hail from all over the country – with two performers from Gauteng: Dewaldt van Solms and Aubrey Lodewyk.

Under the direction of Themi Venturas the show features Bonginkhosi ‘Faca’ Kulu as Jesus, Natalia da Rocha as his mother Mary, Sharon Dee as Mary Magdalene, Grant Jacobs as Simon Peter, and Dewaldt Von Solms as Pontius Pilate.

Caitlin Kilburn is Pilate’s wife, Blessing Xaba is Caiaphas, Aubrey Lodewyk is Annas, and a host of other superb singers features the Isicathamiya group Young Mbazo.

Charities, churches and fundraisers are encouraged to use the show to raise funds for their organisations. Those interested can email The African Passion national sales manager Ailsa Windsor at

Tickets cost from R100. Book at Computicket throughout SA except for the Jo’burg theatre where booking can be made at Jo’burg Theatre ticketing call centre is 0861 670 670.

*Photo by Val Adamson. From left to right: Siphindile Myeni, Sheila Mkhize, Caitlin Kilburn and Sharon Dee.



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