Freedom The Musical cast. Picture: Supplied

Aubrey Sekhabi, the State Theatre’s artistic director and a multi-award-winning playwright, sits in the director’s chair in Freedom.

The musical has a cast of 47 members and a 13-piece band who tell the story of Phindile (Simphiwe Ndlovu), a Tshwane University of Technology student and leader of #FeesMustFall movement. Phindile’s life takes a sharp turn after the students’ protest at the Union Buildings in Pretoria.

This story explores her determination to triumph regardless of the odds. She will stop at nothing to fight for the freedom of students, for free education and ultimately her own freedom.

It features hip hop star Sphelele “PdotO” Mnyandu, Ndlovu, Kabelo “Bonafide Billi” Togoe, Motswako rapper Chad da Don, the experienced baritone Otto Maidi, and 2017 Idols top 10 finalist Thokozile Ndimande, among others.

Other themes explored in the production are the crime and violence that have become rife in our communities.The horrific xenophobic attack of Mozambican national Emmanuel Sithole who was pursued and attacked in Alexandra township in 2015 is given a highlight in the story of Freedom.

The stories of young women like Francis Rasuge, Reeva Steenkamp and Karabo Mokoena, who suffered abuse and perished at the hands of their boyfriends, are also plotted.

The music composition by Bonafide, who makes his theatrical debut as a musical director and actor, is raw, gritty and reflects the mood of the time with the genres of hip hop and kwai-hop.

The newly released Korobela hit single by Bonafide and Chad is also included on the playlist.

The choreography of Mduduzi Nhlapo highlights the story’s sense of urgency.

Sekhabi reunites with his long-term creative partner Wilhelm Disbergen who has created a set that befits this new age musical.

A soundtrack album of the musical is set to be released with a music video during the theatre season.

Sekhabi’s previous work, Marikana The Musical, is still on the tongues of the masses. The musical came out tops at the 2014 edition of Naledi awards, scooping six awards out of 14 nominations. Whether the dynamic creative will be able to continue with this winning formula with Freedom, remains to be seen.

* Freedom The Musical will run at the State Theatre from  February 27 to April 1. Tickets from R90

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