Paying homage to Winnie

2011-04-30 14:27

It’s not every day that South Africa’s political royalty get to party in one room, especially on a school night. But Thursday night was a special occasion – the premiere of Winnie: The Opera at the State Theatre in Pretoria.

Not another story about Winnie, you say? Well, it’s only right that you’re still alive when someone writes your life story.

And it’s good to see that Madikizela-Mandela gave her stamp of approval to the ­opera. She even autographed each guest’s programme.

Although the lady of the hour was ­nowhere to be seen there were other equally prominent people milling about the room enjoying cocktails before the opera started.

As is the norm with these types of events, it was a black-tie affair and guests wore their evening threads.

Everywhere you looked there were MECs, Members of Parliament and a whole lot of Mandela grandchildren trying their best to look grown up in suits.

Some of the notable guests included Graca Machel, Steve Biko’s sister, Bandi Biko, Julius Malema, who strolled in with friends and bodyguards, African Fashion International MD Paul Leisegang, Nakedi Ribane, Augustine Chuene and many other veteran actors and actresses.

The theatre was packed, which was good to see considering that the only time the place ever really fills up is when some kind of awards are hosted there.

Interestingly, there was another play of the same period as Winnie: The Opera, called The Rivonia Trials, being staged just around the corner.

There was no way anyone would have missed the “policemen” wearing old khaki uniforms.

After a two-hour pre-event cocktail ­session the guests were ushered to their seats for the show to start.

» See Seven for a review of the opera

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