Review – Passion gets standing ovation in Jozi

2013-04-12 18:00

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Joburg welcomed The African Passion with a standing ovation at the end of the gospel opera’s debut, staged at the Joburg Theatre last night.

The show, which has received equally enthusiastic audience feedback in Durban, Port Elizabeth and Cape Town, will run at the Braamfontein-based theatre until Sunday. The two-hour show, with a 20-minute interval, is a singing rendition of the passion of Christ and features local composers Phelelani Mnomiya, Anthony Govender and Young Mbazo.

Mnomiya, a lecturer in choral music studies at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, is recognised as one of South Africa’s preeminent choral music composers while Govender runs the Destiny Music Academy, among other things. Young Mbazo is made up of the children and grandchildren of the world-renowned Ladysmith Black Mambazo.

Young Mbazo shone as they infused popular isicathamiya sounds with gospel and opera – complete with the popular rrrrrrrq!

According to director Themi Venturas, who also wrote the libretto: “The music is a fair reflection of the vast variety of gospel styles that make up the South African genre. There are great choral numbers in an almost classical style, some in a mbaqanga style. There are duets, solos and a group of isicathamiya disciples. This is a true African Passion.”

Pioneering cabaret artist and all-round actress Natalia da Rocha is outstanding as Jesus’ mother, Mary, and her solo with popstar-cum-gospel singer Sharon Dee as Mary Magdelene left the audience in awe.

Bonginkosi Faca Kulu, who spent time in the Broadway production of The Lion King in New York, is the tall, dreadlocked Jesus.

There is a lot of talent in this stage production – both young and veteran.

Pity that the Joburg Theatre sound let them down every so often.

The African Passion, on at the Joburg Theatre, only runs until Sunday, April 14.

» Bookings at: or 0861 670 670

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.