Production tells Masote’s story

2015-07-22 06:01
PROMINENT features in the true-life story of Mike Masote, a famous violinist, from South Africa. From the left are Neo Tinyiko, Mlungisi Zulu, Nhlanhla Xipu and Kgaugelo Mpyane. The production will be staged in the Ernest Oppenheimer Theatre in Welko

PROMINENT features in the true-life story of Mike Masote, a famous violinist, from South Africa. From the left are Neo Tinyiko, Mlungisi Zulu, Nhlanhla Xipu and Kgaugelo Mpyane. The production will be staged in the Ernest Oppenheimer Theatre in Welko

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THE untold story of Mike Masote’s dream, a dream which he had of being a violinist from the early age of 11, will be showcased in the Ernest Oppenheimer Theatre in Welkom. Locals in the Goldfields can watch live performances from 31 July to 1 August of the fascinating untold story of Masote’s childhood musical journey in the Ernest Oppenheimer Theatre in Welkom. The two-day production is set to start at 19:00 each day.

The staging of the production, Masote’s Dream, is made possible by the Performing Arts Council of the Free State (Pacofs) in partnership with Thambo Theatre Producers.

While only the popularised versions of the stories of black people burning down schools during the apartheid era have been commonly told, Pacofs and Thambo Theatre Producers took the initiative to tell Masote’s story. He too was a victim who experienced his school being burnt down by white policemen for teaching what they regarded as “white music” and had his dream almost shattered.

An unsung hero, Matlhaela Michael Masote was born in 1941 in Johannesburg in the township of the then Sophiatown. He taught himself to play the violin, using only a wooden plank and a stick. He then took up violin lessons in Johannesburg after completing his matric. Masote wanted to further his studies in music, but experienced difficulties in applying to tertiary institutions in South Africa. This led him to successfully register abroad at the Royal School of Music in London where he obtained his licenciate in teaching violin in 1973.

Masote was the first black South African to be awarded a B-Mus degree by the University of South Africa (Unisa) in 1998. This was followed by an Honorary Licentiate in music, also from Unisa in 2005. Among his many projects and initiatives are the Soweto Youth Orchestra, the Mmabatho Youth Orchestra, the Klerksdorp Youth Orchestra and the Seventh Day Adventist Orchestra, to name but a few.

About six decades later his story unfolds on stage through a production arranged by Masote’s own son, Kutlwano Masote. What better way to tell his story than to work with his son, who is also one of the musical successes that followed in the very same footsteps of the man the story honours?

The production Masote’s Dream is a moving tale about both his dream and his musical journey. It started as an idea and was spurred on by Zuko Nodada. It has since evolved into a production brought to the stage by Thambo Theatre in partnership with Pacofs, Orkater Theatre Company from Amsterdam, the Soweto Theatre and the National Arts Festival.

The production features mostly local artists from the Free State, including six (6) players of classical music instruments (ranging from violinists to cellists) as well as singers and actors. It’s directed by a Dutch director, Dagmar Slagmolen, who specialises in telling stories in which the narrative is driven forward by music.

This dynamic production is like none other - not your “regular classical music rendition”.

The audience can expect a thrilling and exciting musical theatre experience which will unfold with storytelling and imagery with the players as part of the action.

Tickets for Masote’s Dream are available at R50 per person. For more information phone 057 357 1214

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