Sarafina! (musical)

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This article is about the South African musical. For the film, see Sarafina! (film). For the character in The Lion King, see Sarafina (The Lion King).
Sarafina!
Music Mbongeni Ngema
Basis
Productions 1987 Broadway

Sarafina! is a South African musical by Mbongeni Ngema depicting students involved in the Soweto Riots, in opposition to apartheid. It was also adapted into a 1992 film starring Whoopi Goldberg and Leleti Khumalo. Sarafina! premiered on Broadway on 28 January 1988, at the Cort Theatre, and closed on 2 July 1989, after 597 performances and 11 previews. The musical was conceived and directed by Mbongeni Ngema, who also wrote the book, music, and lyrics. The play was first presented at The Market Theatre, Johannesburg, South Africa, in June 1987. The cast included Leleti Khumalo as Sarafina.

Leleti Khumalo received a Tony Award nomination, Best Featured Actress in a Musical, as well as a NAACP Image Award for her Broadway theatre portrayal of the title character. The production was also nominated for the Tony Award for: Best Musical, Best Original Score, Best Choreography, and Best Direction of a Musical.

The show presents a school uprising similar to the Soweto uprising on 16 June 1976. A narrator introduces several characters among them the schoolgirl activist Sarafina. Things get out of control when policemen shot several pupils at the school. Nevertheless, the musical ends with a cheerful farewell show of pupils leaving school, which takes most of the second act.

The production of the play was chronicled in the documentary film Voices of Sarafina!.

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