Injongo pupils shine bright

Akhona Manikivana, Mbali Mazwi, Lindisa Mathambo, Sonwabiso Tom, Luyolo Mpemba and Luthabile Nyamende are all excited to be part of the Tiger Bay Musical.

Six pupils from Injongo Primary School, in Khayelitsha, are over the moon with joy as they have been included in the cast of a new production called Tiger Bay the Musical, which will be staged at the Artscape Theatre in Cape Town from Saturday May 20 to Saturday May 27.

These budding entertainers, who are in grades 6 and 7, were chosen from scores of pupils when the production held intensive auditions across the province.

They join nine other children taking part in the play and have been training for months to perfect their acting, singing and dancing skills.

Akhona Manikivana, Mbali Mazwi, Lindisa Mathambo, Sonwabiso Tom, Luyolo Mpemba and Luthabile Nyamende, who are all 12, are thrilled to be in the show and said their aim is to represent their school and make their families proud.

These bubbly and confident young performers play the role of orphans. The story starts when Themba, a Zulu man who tragically lost his wife and son during the Boer War, arrives in Tiger Bay.

He finds work as a donkeyman, hauling coal along the railway tracks, and meets lanto, an orphan who has to live by her wits. The production explores the universal themes of love and redemption. It also tackles current issues which the country is battling with such as the huge gap of inequality and migrant labour. Prize-winning local author Michael Williams wrote the book and lyrics for Tiger Bay the Musical.

“Tiger Bay the Musical is about how we can live and work better together by doing the little things right,” said Mr Williams.

A confident Akhona Manikivana, said she hoped to further enhance her acting and singing skills while taking part in the play.

The 12-year-old said even though this was not her first play, she was nervous about being part of the cast.

She said she and her school mates all had some sort of background in acting and dancing as some of them had been part of the play called The Musical which went to Sweden last year.

She said what makes her proud is that they are representing their community and school.

“We are making our school and community proud. We hope to be a beacon of hope to other children and it shows that we as township children are talented but we need to be given platforms to showcase our God-given talent. We urge the community to support us and we are thankful to the directors for affording us the opportunity to be part of the play,” she said.

School mate and cast member, Luyolo Mpemba echoed the same sentiments, saying the play provided a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity in developing their skills and building their acting and singing repertoire.

He said they all intend becoming professional actors and actresses and this experience would boost their confidence.

Luyolo said the background they have in acting has helped them to be able to articulate their story lines and portray their roles to the best of their abilities.

“If the show does well here there is a chance that we might tour the world,” he said.