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The show goes on - late Busi Lurayi to be honoured in Tony award-winning play ‘Ruined’

Busi Mokoena Lurayi. Picture: Instagram

Busi Mokoena Lurayi. Picture: Instagram

Published Jul 20, 2022


It was the first day of rehearsal for the most anticipated Tony award-winning production “Ruined” by Lynn Nottage when the news of one of their cast members, Busisiwe’s Lurayi’s tragic death broke on Monday, July 11.

According to the family’s official statement, Lurayi was found by her father, Freddie Mokoena, in her daughter’s bedroom on Sunday, July 10. She was 37. The cause of death is yet to be announced.

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Lurayi was to take the lead as Mama Nadi in the thought-provoking new play “Ruined” set to make its South African debut in August, as part of the Market Theatre‘s Women’s Month celebrations.

In a conversation with IOL Entertainment, the show director Clive Mathibe said the cast was devastated by Lurayi’s death.

“The entire cast was shattered because they were all looking forward to working with each other. They took it very hard but we quickly decided to do this to honour her memory,” said Mathibe.

The play highlights the plight of women in the civil war-torn Democratic Republic of Congo.

“I know she was looking forward to being in a story because it deals with issues of female genital mutilation, and how bodies of women in the Congo amid a civil war were used as weapons of mass destruction and as playgrounds for abuse and rape during that time, so it's a very important story to tell in a beautiful way to honour her with this kind of narrative.

Mathibe announced this week that renowned actress Hlengiwe Lushaba will take Lurayi's place as Mama Nadi in the upcoming play.

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“I think Busi also gifted us with a beautiful replacement for the role in the form of Hlengiwe Lushaba, who is a theatre veteran in her own right, and who has done wonderful work in theatre, screen, film, and television," added Mathibe.

The play is set in Mama Nadi’s bar, a haven for miners, government soldiers and rebel militia, where they come to forget the ruins of war, drink and dance with women and feed their desires.

It centres around the lives of the women working in the bar and their resolve to survive despite the atrocities they have experienced.

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“Congo used to be known as the rape capital of the world. And with all the GBV cases that have been rising over the years in South Africa, we have kind of adopted that term and become the rape capital of the world.

“The story itself and the themes speak to the abuse of women through many various violations and this would resonate with South Africans and Africans. "

The play also features renowned guitarist and composer BandaBanda who is responsible for producing music for the play.

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“Ruined” will premiere at the Market Theatre on August 5 and runs until September 4.

Following the government’s recent announcement to remove all lockdown restrictions, theatres around the country are ready to welcome patrons back to fill the spaces to once again full capacity.

That said, we have compiled a list of exciting theatre productions to watch out for in Cape Town, Joburg and Durban.

Spertyd (Artscape)

This adaptation of Elsa Joubert’s autobiography describes her journey through the contentment of age. She writes about the ageing process honestly and is devoid of sentiment. This insightful, intimate story is performed by the multi-award-winning Sandra Prinsloo and is produced by Margit Meyer-Rödenbeck and Alexa Strachan.

Sandra Prinsloo in Spertyd. Picture: Robert A Hamblin

Date: August 3 - 4.

The Unlikely Secret Agent (Artscape)

Written and directed by award-winning actor and playwright, Paul du Toit, and based on the Alan Paton Award-winning novel by Ronnie Kasrils, the story tells of Eleanor, an unassuming, young single mother who is arrested in Durban and interrogated in 90-day detention over her lover and notorious “Terrorist”, Red Ronnie Kasrils.

This is a true depiction of bravery and hope in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds.

Date: August 4 - 9.

The Unlikely Secret Agent - Erika Marais and Sanda Shandu. Photo. Jeremeo Le Cordeur

Embody You (Baxter)

The award-winning dancer-choreographic duo Grant van Ster and Shaun Oelf alongside their company Figure of 8 Dance Collective returns to The Baxter Theatre with their brand new dance work “Embody You”.

This is a choreographic display of the physical body’s role and function in what makes us human explored through the use of contemporary dance. A raw and thought-provoking work that zooms in on the notions of: Are we just our bodies? What is self? What makes us human?

Date: July 27.

The Bread, The Porridge and the Mix Masala (Suncoast The Globe)

Durban theatre luminary Melanie Kisten returns to Suncoast The Globe with her hit production “The Bread, The Porridge and the Mix Masala” with yet again another twist with a different tale.

The show focuses on expressing the hardships of marriage, family and betrayal, laced with comedy that’s bound to leave you in stitches in a wacky, yet interesting way.

Date: July 30

Lyle D Chellan, Desiree Kisten, Bhavani Kisten, Melanie Kisten, Thiru Reddy. Picture: Supplied

Sarafiwe! (Sibaya Theatre)

Calling all Durbanites to come to enjoy a rip-roaring comedy filled with drama, music and dance. Jayashree Parasuraman and Lee Kunene take everyday relatable situations amongst South Africans and the current culture from the perspective of the born frees and the ama2000s.

They dive into hilariously real scenarios and conspiracy theories with unexpected twists and endings which, although inspired by actual people and events, all characters are fictional.

Date: July 29 - 31.

Sarafiwe! Picture: Supplied

Sarafina! (Playhouse Company - Opera Theatre)

Mbongeni Ngema’s Sarafina! The Broadway hit musical follows the Morris Isaacson High School against the backdrop of the 1976 students’ revolting against racial domination in that Afrikaans was being used as a medium of instruction, and the lines “English in Afrikaans, History in Afrikaans, Zulu in Afrikaans, Mathematics in Afrikaans” illustrates this

Date: July 15 - September 31.

Sarafina!. Picture: Supplied

Johnnie Motsamai (Joburg Theatre)

The story centres around Johnnie Motsamai “Thee Celebrity” who falls in love with Maria “a wannabe” and shows her the life of celebrities. Things go sour when Maria fell pregnant.

Maria’s friend Soul “a self-proclaimed playwright” is always eager to take her in despite her many disappointments, however, she will always find her way back to being with Johnnie Motsamai because of her quest for rich and famous. Johnnie promises to introduce her to his famous friend so she steals all of Soul’s work.

Date: July 26 - 30.

Johnnie Motsamai.Picture: Supplied