Meet the new Sarafina

Picture credit: Supplied
Picture credit: Supplied

A young Soweto actress has hit the jackpot by landing the coveted role of Sarafina in Mbongeni Ngema's world-famous musical.

Noxolo Dlamini from Chiawelo takes over from seasoned actress Leleti Khumalo, who played the role for years.

Dlamini, together with the new cast, will be unleashed when Sarafina! opens at the State Theatre in Pretoria on February 28.

The 23-year-old Dlamini, who was not even born when Sarafina! was first staged 1988, has always wanted to act in the production. She still could not believe that she had scored the role when Sowetan spoke to her yesterday.

Dlamini, a product of the National School of the Arts in Braamfontein, Johannesburg, is well aware that Khumalo made the role her's and popularised it.

"I'm excited to have been chosen to play the role. I cannot wait to perform in front of an audience.

"I'm not going to imitate her [Khumalo] or try to outdo her.

"I will play the role the way I understand it. I know the role of Sarafina is challenging and demanding. It requires you to have a lot of energy, be able to dance, sing and act," Dlamini said.

She believes that Sarafina! is still relevant to the youth of today because it will educate them about the struggle against apartheid.

Dlamini said she found it easy to relate to the story because her mother went to Morris Isaacson High School in Soweto.

The school played an important role in the Soweto uprising of 1976.

"My mother has told us a lot about apartheid and the student uprising. I'm sure that many young people still want to see the show that made history."

Ngema praised his new find in a statement: "Noxolo was spotted during the Sarafina! auditions held last year.

"She exceeded our expectations as Committed Artists.

"From the day of the auditions, we knew we had found Sarafina.

"Sarafina! is no doubt one theatrical show that will remain a constant reminder of the pain and misery that our people suffered and, most importantly, the hope that young South Africans had for their country.

"Furthermore, this is the time to tell our own stories."