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Marikana shines bright

Aubrey Sekhabi's emotive production, Marikana: The Musical, swept the boards at the 11th South African Naledi Theatre Awards last night at the Lyric Theatre, Johannesburg.

The production is about the 41 miners who died in the Marikana massacre, in Rustenburg in 2012, scooped no fewer than six awards.

The gongs were in the categories of best production of a musical (Aubrey Sekhabi), best director (Sekhabi), best performance in a musical: female (Emma Mmekwa), best set design (Wilhelm Disbergen), best score (McKenzie Matone, Zakele Mabena and Sekhabi), and best original choreography (Thabo Rapoo).

The glittering ceremony regarded as the premier awards event for theatre excellence, was attended by stage luminaries and other members of the entertainment world.

Marikana: The Musical's win comes barely two weeks after the Marikana massacre report was handed to President Jacob Zuma by the Farlam Commission which was tasked to investigate the killings.

One of the shining stars to emerge at the awards was Zethu Dlomo, who has set her sights on directing both on stage and film.

The 26-year-old drama graduate from Wits University scooped the the Brett Goldin Award for best newcomer or breakthrough performer for her adaptation of veteran arts all-rounder Gcina Mhlope's short story, Have You Seen Zandile.

"It is wonderful to win and this would open more channels in the theatre industry for me; it would give me a voice in the happenings and shaping of our industry," she said.

Other notable winners were Paul Slabolepszy's Pale Natives, which won three awards including best production of a play.

Athol Fugard, 83, and actress Shaleen Surtie-Richards each received lifetime achievement award.