The cast of “Freedom The Musical”. Picture: Sanmari Marais.
The cast of “Freedom The Musical”. Picture: Sanmari Marais.

'Freedom The Musical' relives the historical events of Fees Must Fall

By Kedibone Modise Time of article published Jun 16, 2020

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""Freedom The Musical" tells a powerful story of #FeesMustFall movement.

The compelling musical is created by The South African State Theatre’s artistic director and multi-award-winning playwright, Aubrey Sekhabi. 

A phenomenal cast of 47 members and a thirteen piece band tells a powerful the story of Phindile Ndlovu, a Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) student and leader of #FeesMustFall movement.

The young student leader will stop at nothing to fight for the freedom of her fellow students, free education and, ultimately, her own freedom. 

The show sheds the light on crime, rape, abuse against women, racism, xenophobia and corruption among other pertinent societal issues.  

Lead actor and musical director, Kabelo “Bonafide Billi” Togoe, says he’s excited that "Freedom The Musical", which resonates with many South Africans, will finally reach a broader audience as the 2018 production goes digital.

The cast of 'Freedom The Musical. Picture: Sanmari Marais. 

Commenting on the show, he said: “She show addresses complex struggles that the youth face in South Africa and aims to depict those challenges through dance, music, and spoken word.”

Expanding on his role, the youngster added: “I composed the score for Freedom and worked closely with the director and scriptwriter Aubrey Sekhabi to encapsulate the current struggle and tell the story as best as we could. This was my first acting role and I found it super challenging. 

"I’ve since developed a profound respect for actors and theatre practitioners for their commitment to storytelling through their bodies and souls. I had to split myself in three to also direct the music, that was incredibly fulfilling.”

He adds:” As the composer I enjoyed dreaming the music, hearing it before it existed, hearing all the parts from string sections to guitar leads and actually seeing that come into fruition, it was nothing short of magical. 

"As a performer, nothing beats observing the impact that the show has on the audience and engaging with them about their experiences.”

The 27-year-old star also touched on the challenges that the young people are facing, including the poor standard of education in the country.

“The standard of education in our country has dropped drastically. Students need marks as low as 30 per cent in certain subjects to be advanced to the next grade which conditions the student to under perform and making it incredibly difficult for the youth to compete in the global market.”

He continued: “Violence and substance abuse in poverty-stricken communities are rife and these acts are commonly at the hands of unemployed youth.”

The cast of “Freedom The Musical”. Picture: Sanmari Marais.

Togoe, however, expressed his gratitude to the massive contribution of the theatre industry in helping young people develop and nurture their talent.

“Theatres have done so much to get the youth creating and working, advocating for professionalism and yielding high standard of productions.”

On why it’s Youth Day commemoration is relevant today, he shared: “It’s necessary to keep the fire burning, it's important to reflect on the past, to understand our current situation and strategies for an even better future.”

The cast of “Freedom The Musical”. Picture: Sanmari Marais.

"Freedom The Musical" which premiered at the State Theatre in 2018, will be streamed on the State Theatre’s YouTube channel from Tuesday, June 16 till Sunday, July 5.

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