In 1980 Dr Jonas Gwangwa brought the theatrical protest musical Amandla to the world, now for the first time it is coming home, to the State Theatre in December.
It promises a cutting-edge theatrical production that will enthrall audiences, inspire youngsters and showcase the country’s finest artistic talent.
The Amandla Cultural Ensemble was originally developed and produced by Gwangwa in Angola. Created to lobby support for liberation movements in exile, Amandla galvanized international solidarity movements and communicated the injustices of the Apartheid system to the global community. Solidarity movements responded to the call through multiple projects that saw donations of food, clothing, medication, transportation, educational and skills development opportunities for exiled South Africans.
From 1980 to 1990 Amandla travelled the world, performing in numerous countries including Angola, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Ghana, India, Japan, Luxembourg, Libya, Malaysia, Mozambique, Netherlands, New Zealand, Newfoundland, Nigeria, Norway, Russia, Singapore, Sweden, Tanzania, United Kingdom, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. In 1990, the Amandla Cultural Ensemble settled and finally dismantled in Zimbabwe as apartheid came to an end and liberation organisations were unbanned in South Africa.
In the spirit of the original production and with the knowledge that progress relies on an understanding of our past, Gwangwa, now head of Barungwa Productions, is looking to inspire the next generation of South Africans. With support from the Department of Arts and Culture (DAC) and the South African State Theatre, Barungwa Productions will be bringing the Amandla Cultural Ensemble – The Production back to the stage in December 2015 with a glittering cocktail inaugural performance at the State Theatre on the 3rd, and for- the- public performances, the 4th and 5th. The 2016 program is in development and is set to enthrall.
Envisaged as a premium nation-building tool, this reinvigoration of the production of Amandla narratively traces the history of the struggle within the global context.
With Gwangwa at the helm, his wealth of knowledge and experience, the production aims to develop, elevate and empower the South African arts and culture industry.
Barungwa Productions invites stakeholders who have an interest in, have information about or have archived content to come forward and share their stories. Amandla is our shared past, and our common goal, and as such belongs to the people. With world-class staging and the best of South African talent, it will stand proudly among the great musicals.
Auditions recently took place with great success and the cast is currently preparing to begin rehearsals.
“As a nation- building tool, the Amandla Cultural Ensemble has proven to be a pre-eminent communication vehicle that can transcend language and cultural barriers. Amandla is able to educate current and future generations about their history, and how the dedication and aspirations of ordinary South Africans made such a big difference to their own lives, and in the world, and why they too should take up that mantle,” says Gwangwa.