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New Era Newspaper Friday August 18, 2017

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26 entertainment

26 entertainment Friday, 18 August 2017 | NEW ERA ARTS Reviving a South African musical that once promised so much Another vision… From left, James Thompson as Slim, Nathan Mdledle as King Kong and Miriam Makeba as Joyce in the 1959 production of ‘King Kong’. Photo: Irene Menell Roslyn Sulcas Aug Cape Town, South Africa Nelson and Winnie Mandela were in the crowd. Miriam Makeba was the female lead. Abdullah Ibrahim played inconspicuously in the orchestra, as did a teenage Hugh Masekela, on a trumpet given to him by Louis Armstrong. Thrilled by what they saw and heard the audience members, at first roped into “white” and “non-white” sections, refused to leave the theatre after the show, dancing and talking into the early hours of the morning. It was 2 February 1959; 11 years after apartheid had been established in South Africa, and barely a year before the Sharpeville massacre, when police shooting into a peaceful protest caught the world’s attention. But on the opening night of the musical “King Kong,” a black composer, Todd Matshikiza; a white creative team; and a 72-strong black cast offered the audience a vision of another kind of country, in which creativity and collaboration prevailed. The show — which has nothing to do with the giant ape of movie fame or the musical now being created around that tale — was a smash hit, playing to over 200,000 people in South Africa, before going to London’s West End for a sixmonth run in 1961. Princess Margaret came to the opening night; “It took the playing of ‘God Save the Queen’ to quiet the audience after the final curtain,” The New York Times reported afterward. Then, it seemed, the brief moment of hope evaporated. The musical vanished, its performers scattered (some, including Makeba, who became a star, and Masekela, remained abroad); the tentacles of the apartheid state closed in ever more firmly on any interaction between white and black people. But on August 2, almost 60 years later and after more than 20 years of painstaking negotiations, “King Kong” opened again in South Africa, at Cape Town’s Fugard Theatre, where it will run through September 2 before transferring to the Mandela Theatre in Johannesburg. The resuscitation of “King Kong” is the work of Eric Abraham, a South African-born, London-based producer of theatre and film (‘Kolya’, ‘Ida’) who encountered the music by chance in the mid-1990s, and immediately decided to pursue the project for the Fugard Theatre, which he founded. “Somewhere I had heard about the myth of ‘King Kong’ the musical, and it just resonated,” Abraham said in an interview at his west London home. “The making of ‘King Kong’ reflected a kind of utopia in the midst of an utterly fragmented society. Having grown up in that society, this appealed strongly to me.” “King Kong” is set in Johannesburg’s Sophiatown neighbourhood – until its demolition in 1955 a multiracial cultural hub that bred a generation of writers and musicians. It tells the true story of a famous boxer, Ezekiel Dlamini, nicknamed “King Kong” for his size and strength, whose downfall – caused partly by his jealousy over his girlfriend, Joyce, the owner of an informal nightclub – and untimely death provided, for many, a parable of lost chances and thwarted lives in apartheid South Africa. Abraham had some experience of that himself. Working as a journalist in his early 20s, the South African secret service targeted him for reporting on police atrocities and torture, placed under house arrest, and eventually smuggled across the border to Botswana in 1977. For a long time he retained an ambivalent connection to his home country, but by the time he heard the “King Kong” music, he was actively looking for South African projects. His path to a revival needed the kind of tenacity that Abraham has plenty of. (An attempt at a revival in 1979 folded after two shows.) “I like a challenge,” he said. “And who can resist Todd Matshikiza’s music and Pat Williams’s lyrics?” Williams was 23 and a journalist for Johannesburg’s Rand Daily Mail newspaper when she was asked to write the lyrics for “King Kong” by her friends Clive and Irene Menell, who against all social strictures were friendly with Todd Matshikiza and his wife, Esme. Without their financial and practical support (among other things, Menell wrote the story line), Williams wrote in her recent memoir, “King Kong — Our Knot of Time & Music”, the musical would never have happened. Williams, who moved to London in 1960, said in a telephone interview from Cape Town that she was delighted when Abraham approached her about the rights to the lyrics. But he had a longer road to travel with the widow and heirs of Matshikiza, who died in 1968, and of Harry Bloom, the author of the book (a credit Williams gently disputes in her memoir). “It was a long, hard journey because there were lots of differences of opinion,” said Esme Matshikiza in a telephone interview from Cape Town. “But we got over them. Now I am very excited to see the show.” By 2011, Abraham had secured the rights and begun the search for a director. He would, he said, have liked to find a black South African director, but after several unsuccessful forays, he approached Jonathan Munby, an English director with whom he had collaborated previously. – York Times Worthy successor… Andile Gumbi in the title role of a new production of the musical “King Kong”. Photo: Jesse Kramer MUSIC Top Cheri journeying to success Pinehas Nakaziko Windhoek Top Cheri has not only found successes through social media but the singer also has something new up her sleeves, a brand new song. After listening to her new hit song, currently making waves on some local radio stations, as well as on social media, Entertainment Now caught up with the upcoming and fresh new dancehall and pop star to shed more light on her journey to success, her inspiration and what she is currently working on. An author and actress at the same time, Namibian kwaito star The Dogg inspired her musically. She recalls how she used to perform to some of his songs. “By that time I was known as Monica Morocky… but singing was not something I thought I would take on because I was very shy. “I also ended up hanging around a lot with Dion from PDK. Sometimes when we drove around and a song came on the radio, I would start singing along and Dion was always impressed with me,” Top Cheri explains. She says Dion always encouraged her to sing and one day he ended up taking her to the studio and made her record some songs. Enjoying the ride… Top Cheri, who is currently making waves with her two singles, ‘Victoria’ and ‘Good Man’. There and then her first song titled ‘Victoria’ was born. ‘Victoria’ is the anthem for her second book titled ‘Love, Sex and Flight Tickets’. The video of the songs is also available on YouTube and attracts many viewers every day. Top Cheri also recently released her second single titled ‘Good Man’, which talks about how she prefers a good man over rich guys. “Both ‘Victoria’ and ‘Good Man’ have received a great deal of attention on radio and people are still downloading them on my website every day. My songs have a very unique sound, people love to jive to them,” she says. So far, Top Cheri has worked with local artists such as Dion and Don Kamati. She has also worked with Jowdy from the House Guru Gang. Apart from music, she is working hard to release her second film from Omalaeti Productions titled ‘Captain Kalola 2’. “I am also working on my two major movies of ‘Love, Sex and Flight Tickets’, as well as ‘Walls’. “Both are very exciting projects. I am also currently up and down performing as the bookings are coming in from all corners of Namibia,” Top Cheri says. As far as possible plans for an album, Top Cheri says she is still establishing herself as Top Cheri the performer and still thinking about releasing an album. “With that, I’m hoping to sign a great record label deal. The aim is to release single after single and perform around the country… we are just having fun while making some coins on the way.” Top Cheri started acting in 2014 when she acted for the first time in the film ‘Captain Kalola 1’. “I played the main female role... which also won me a nomination in the upcoming Simply You Magazine Lifestyle awards.” “Throughout the years, I have built relationships with people in the right offices and in the right mind to help me conquer and eliminate all challenges that come my way. “I also believe God has written my story with so much pleasure ... I’m just a cast member in his story, and I’m happy to play it out.”

Friday, 18 August 2017 | NEW ERA entertainment 27 29 The other The good and bad of the quest for beauty NSK lifestyle Modern society compels the female gender to seek methods that will enable her to look similar to the models displayed in fashion magazines and the celebrities who grace Hollywood’s red carpets. The quest for beauty has driven manufacturers to design a wide range of “beauty attachments” or artificial merchandise that can enhance a woman’s appearance and boost her self-esteem. However, these products have advantages and disadvantages. Hair extensions/wigs Pros: Wearing hair extensions allows women to experience instant lengthy hair. Some ethnic hair types don’t grow long due to hereditary genes or inadequate hair care, and therefore weaves or wigs are the solution for lengthening tresses. Another reason why women put in hair extensions is to try out hairstyles and textures that they cannot achieve with their own hair. Women who want to experiment with different hair colours but don’t want to risk damaging their own hair with chemical dyes prefer to buy hair extensions in various shades. Many black women are embracing their natural hair, some use weaves and wigs as transitioning or protective hairstyles. Cons: Improper attachment of hair extensions may cause breakage to the owner’s hair, particularly diminishing the sensitive hairline. Hairpieces have evolved from synthetically manufactured brands to real human hair bundles that they collect from Brazilian women and other exotic races. The most obvious concerns about wearing someone else’s hair are hygiene and health issues. The condition of the hair depends on the suppliers who sell these products; high prices are usually reserved for the best quality available. The expense of Brazilian hair has caused some women who can’t afford it to resort to desperate measures such as engaging in precarious relationships that will fund their beauty needs. Artificial eyelashes/nails Pros: Natural eyelashes are typically not as luscious and dramatic as the artificial ones. Beautiful eye-shapes with stunning definition are achieved by wearing synthetic lashes. When applied correctly using a flattering length, they give a woman’s eyes a glamorous and mesmerising look. Artificial eyelashes are especially useful for giving the eyes a prominent expression in photographs or on television. As for nail care, growing one’s own fingernails can be a time consuming and tedious process. Buying stick-on nails that are easily applied and removed is an appealing alternative for women who want long nails. Artificial nails are tougher than real nails and women can purchase them in numerous shapes and colours. Cons: Synthetic eyelashes and nails are commonly attached using glue. Adhesives are chemicals made with ingredients that are potentially harmful. Low quality products contain toxic elements that may cause allergic skin reactions and eyeinjuries. Consult a dermatologist if any serious discomfort is experienced. It’s important to conduct research on cosmetic brands before purchasing their products. Instructions provided on the packages regarding how to use these products should be strictly adhered to. A general complaint is that it is difficult to carry out daily chores when wearing long artificial nails. Beauty Ndapanda is a lifestyle blogger/writer. Her articles include wellness and beauty tips to help reader look and feel their best, while her topics on introspection examine thoughts and emotional processes for navigating through life’s ups and downs. – www. beautyndapanda. com Industry Flipping it! Last week I bashed crooked event organisers who still in this day and age expect entertainers to perform free of charge! The message was crystal clear, SAY NO TO PERFOMING FOR FREE!!!! However, as a columnist speaking to you and two other friends of yours (including your ex… LOL)… it’s my duty to look at both sides of the coin. Trust the NSK to always flip it like #KK. You can only pay for a service/product if you see value in what someone is offering, right? So maybe, just maybe, some of these event’s organisers whom I have accused of being crooked for offering “exposure” instead of Omo Nujomas do not see the value in what you bring to the table! Yes, I am talking to you who wants to be paid but cannot estimate how many fans your a$$ will bring to an event if booked. Yes, I am talking to you who wants people to pay you, but you do not have any social media presence (numbers) to breathe life into your fetching fee. Yes, I am talking to you who wants to be paid, but is known for being drunk and high on stage, sloppy and lip-syncing. You find entertainers who simply sit in their ka little studio….all day, every day! No appearances, no interaction with the media, no networking with potential investors, no fun fair with fans, no innovative ideas to push the brand beyond the core business and no travelling. So now, you want to receive payment but you don’t breathe value into your service/product? Well, if that is the case then I AM ALSO CROOKED!!! That’s right! There is noooooooooooooo way in this Meriam feeding dogs with Hungry lion world that I am going to pay for your drunken, high and unprepared a$$! Why would I even want you at my event? Why would I expose my paying audience to your lazy and ratchet a$$?! Not happening! So yes, it goes both ways! Entertainers, you need to breathe value into your brand with actual work, numbers and a track record. Event organisers, value us assablief. Kom ons bly net nxa. Otherwise? We are going to keep having this back and forth. Until the next loop, we say “GMTM”! Song of the week: Aj Fitted: Morning After Flop of the week: Riiku: Trouble Maker NSK is a professional MC. For bookings, email naobebsekind@gmail. com or @naobebsekind (twitter)

New Era

New Era Newspaper Vol 22 No 167