Free tickets sold out!

StadiumRTP1Today we are extra excited as we clutch our tickets for the Mandela commemorative concert at Cape Town’s gorgeous stadium. The tickets were free and include a free ride into town (on Golden Arrow or MyCiti buses or the train) but Computicket did run out. We will gather for a drink and a tapas or two at Keenwa, the Peruvian restaurant at the start of the fanwalk, and then walk to the stadium.

ZolaniRTP1Although we will leave our pink wigs at home today, expect us to go gaga when our own First Lady of Rock, Zolani, comes out on stage.

FreshlyGround will be joined by Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Johnny Clegg and other local stars.

It feels like this week has been a turning point for us. Today we are filled with hope. Just as Mandela allowed so many of us to feel pride and hope again after the dark years of apartheid, so too has his passing given the country pause for thought at a crucial juncture.

When news of his death broke people feared that it had come at a good time for the ANC. Many sighed and said the rah rah rah about memories of when Mandela steered the ANC to their first victory 20 years ago would carry the ANC unquestioned back into power.

But! Lo and behold! Stop the press!

It is becoming clear that, in fact, the opposite is happening. All the focus and the footage of Mandela Is highlighting a stark contrast to the current leadership, and questions are being asked.

It is about time we started holding our leaders accountable.

But still it is damn embarrassing to have our president booed on stage. Forgodssake grow up! He is the president, as chosen by the majority of us. If we don’t like him, we need to get down to the polls and vote for change. Don’t just throw naartjie peels.

Thabo Mbeki, whose utterings do not always resonate strongly with popular sentiment, hit the nail on the head yesterday when he said:

“… to celebrate his life properly we need to ask ourselves a question about the quality of leadership.

“To say, to what extent are we measuring up to the standard set [by Mandela] in terms of the quality of leadership?”

Step forward Helen, Lindiwe and Mamphela.

ScroogeMarkNational treasures were also the focus of the night last night as Scrooge opened at the Baxter Theatre.

Mark Lottering as Scrooge in Lara Foot’s adaptation of Charles Dickens’s classic A Christmas Carol is nothing less than genius casting. He is joined on stage by Shaleen Surtie-Richards (Egoli, Villa Rosa, Shirley Valentyn), Andrew Buckland (Laugh the Buffalo, The Ugly Noo Noo, Between the Teeth) and Christo Davids (Sewende Laan, My Name is Ellen Pakkies, Forgiveness).

Nur Abrahams (Radio Classics, Vocal is Lekka) and Poseletso Sejosingoe (Baxter’s Zabalaza Theatre Festival Best actress winner and former Idols runner-up) lead the 50-strong cross-cultural children’s choir under the musical directorship of Camillo Lombard.

The children, from schools around Cape Town, are heartbreakingly cute as they fill the theatre with great sounds and even better vibes.

The stars were not all on-stage, though. I spotted quite a few in the audience, including personal favourite Sandra Prinsloo.

Baxter director Lara Foot dedicated the evening to Mandela and not one person sighed when we were all asked to stand and observe a moment of silence before the show.

ScroogeCast1From the moment the curtain went up until we all stood hands on hearts singing Nkosi Sikilel’ iAfrika together at the end we were entertained by a very South African brand of humour.

While being known for years for global relevance and international standards of productions the Baxter also really understands that ‘local is lekker’.

From the presence of the crescent moon of Islam alongside the cross of Christianity to the smattering of Afrikaaps this little bit of late 1800s England had more than a little dash of Cape spice.

This Christmas production is beautifully staged and absolutely cracking with life.

Siobhan Cassidy

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