CORAL GABLES — Africa Umoja, 20 Years of Freedom and Democracy Tour, a dazzling and jubilant celebration of the history of indigenous South African music and dance that has been playing to standing ovations in over 30 countries across the globe, will première in a one week South Florida debut Oct. 21-26, at Actors’ Playhouse, 280 Miracle Mile, Coral Gables.
Africa Umoja was created by Todd Twala and Thembi Nyandeni, directed by South African Executive Director Joe Theron and presented by the International Arts Foundation New Orleans. The production will feature bring 32 of South Africa’s most versatile and dynamic young singers, dancers and drummers.
The cast will perform traditional love songs, lullabies, and internationally acclaimed choreography that narrates in passionate song and dance to illustrate the moving tale of love and community as black South Africans triumphed through some of their country’s stormiest passages.
“Audiences will experience life in townships thru authentic tribal dancing, joyous gospel singing, explosive drumming and heartfelt performances in an exciting tribute to South Africa and the Zulu heritage,” said Ernest Kelly, president of the International Arts Foundation. “Punctuating our joint celebration with South Africa’s twenty years of freedom and democracy is the tribute to Nelson Mandela which includes the song “Long Road to Freedom” written in his honor and performed to visuals of Mandela in jail on Robin Island and his release from Poslmor Prison in 1990.”
Channeling the sounds of such iconic and internationally acclaimed stars as Miriam Makeba (Mama Africa), Hugh Masekela and the late Dolly Radabe, also heard will be the sounds of the vibrant jazz that forced its way free from the constraints of the times along with works drawn from the earliest rhythms of “Kwaito.”
“Africa Umoja is the story of the music of South Africa and its people which began pre-Apartheid prior to any settlers arriving in South Africa,” said Therron. “Through the years, the music continued to evolve right up to our current “Kwaito,” the equivalent of American hip hop in its culture, fashion and expression that is the dynamic current club climate of South Africa today. From then until now, they continue to be the heart of our story.”
Performances are 7 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday; 4 p.m. on Sunday. Box Office hours: Monday thru Saturday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday, from noon to 6 p.m.
All seats are reserved. Tickets are $75. Group sales of 20 or more are $60 per ticket.