Kakadu cast members. Picture: Supplied
Kakadu, which is an award-winning Nigerian play, makes its way back to a South African stage at The Joburg Theatre from tomorrow to June 18.

The play, whose title loosely translates to “a place to belong” is a musical that aims to showcase the best of Naija rhythms and, in the process, make audiences want to get on their feet too.

Kakadu has already enjoyed runs and rave reviews in Switzerland and, of course, its home country, Nigeria. Set in Nigeria’s Lagos state, Kakadu picks up at a time when Nigeria has just gained independence from British colonial rule.

What happens to a state that believes it has finally found freedom?

How do people deal with the fleeting pleasures that become almost gluttonous in the face of a history that was compounded with lack?

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This musical tackles all of that. The lead actor and musical director is Ben Ogbeiwi. In an interview with the This Day publication, Ogbeiwi had this to say about the production:

“We represent the truth with this play.”

“It reflects the mind, heart and soul of this (Nigerian) country. If we pay close attention to the issues that we have, Kakadu offers solutions to all the challenges around the selfish elements in the system.”

He continued: “If we do not get into the conscience of these wild ones we won’t get ahead of these challenges - and we hold the key to solving these problems.”


Kakadu marries sounds like afrobeat, Yoruba folk music, American soul and pop, as well as juju music. It has been running since 2013 and boasts a cast of 39 performers.

Claire Pacariz, the executive producer of Joburg City Theatres, had this to say: “Kakadu is a highly creative, original production which has been internationally acclaimed as the first musical from Nigeria and that is why we are interested in bringing it to South Africa for the 2017 Africa month celebrations.”

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The writer and executive producer of this musical is Uche Nwokedi, who is also a lawyer.

Nwokedi “believes that the project is aimed at bridging the gap between Nigeria and South Africa, exporting the South African distinctive cultural values and as a further denunciation of xenophobia through beautiful music and enthralling drama”. - Tonight Reporter

* Kakadu runs at the Joburg Theatre from June 7 to June 18. Tickets at Webtickets or the box office.

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