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June 27, 2011

Woza Cape Town: A Tale of Music and Dance in the Mother City

Woza Cape Town

Photo courtesy Brian Notcutt of Theatre in the District

Cape Town is a city renowned for its colourful people, vibrant music and soulful dancing, and this is brought to the fore in the Theatre in the District’s award-winning production, Woza Cape Town.

Held each Monday evening in the historical venue (this renovated church is one of the few remaining remnants of District Six), the show is performed by a group of talented singers and dancers who are students and alma maters of The Dance Project.

The evening’s entertainment kicks off with a hot and tasty traditional Cape Malay meal and a gumboot dance demonstration in which audiences are encouraged to join. It’s quite the icebreaker and plenty of fun to participate in and watch. Then it’s show time!

Woza Cape Town attempts to highlight the perceived ongoing class segregation that exists in Cape Town. The story is told through dance, song and poetry from the perspectives of three young Capetonian men who hail from the affluent suburb of Constantia, the drama fraught Cape Flats and the neglected townships respectively.

Dispelling all the cookie cutter notions of the city as presented in tourism brochures everywhere, the male leads give you an insider’s view of what it means to be them in this constantly changing metropolis. Kye may be living in the lap of luxury and attending the best schools, but his wealthy parents neglect him. DJ is a fantastic dancer but his moves serve him best when trying to avoid the criminal elements in his hometown and Khaya is trying his upmost to avoid the alcoholic and drug abusing pitfalls of his township.

In this story within a story, the thing that connects them is their love of the arts and their rehearsal for an upcoming production, which leads to the inevitable happy ending of ubuntu (humanity to others).

Assisted by a group of energetic and nubile female dancers, (especially the lead dancer whose agile moves mirror her beauty), the boys perform some interesting song and dance numbers, including well known hits by popular South African kwaito artists TKZee and Mandoza.

The two female vocal leads have sweet voices, but they struggle to match the mind-blowing talent of Vicky Sampson with their cover of her hit My African Dream. However, they manage to capture Claire Johnston’s cheekiness in the Mango Groove number, Special Star. Their enthusiasm is catchy.

The costumes are eye-catching and the girls, especially, are a pleasure to watch. The show is in English, Afrikaans and Xhosa and while this will delight local audiences, there are a few in-jokes and expressions that may be lost in translation for international patrons.

From the jive to the pantsula and hip hop to the diski dance, the cast effortlessly moves through the intricate steps and you’ll be tempted to boogie in your seat. The storyline, while so familiar, will make you wonder if in this age of democracy, things have really changed at all…

Tickets for Woza Cape Town are R170 each and include a traditional Cape Malay meal. Book at +27(0)79 770 4686.

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