Somizi back in the big time with musical

Edward Tsumele

Edward Tsumele

Choreographer Somizi Mhlongo has bounced back into the big time as chief choreographer of Mbongeni Ngema's new musical Gert Sibande: The Lion of the East.

Speaking to Sowetan on the phone as he was driving to Witbank, Mpumalanga, to join the cast yesterday, the entertainer said this opportunity was something any choreographer would die for.

"Last year was not a good one for me but this project will put me back where I belong. It will raise my profile.

"It is also a challenge since I have to create movement that is consistent with the story line. I will treat the story with the sensitivity it demands," he said.

The entertainer, who has also released two music albums in the past two years, actually started his career as a dancer at Committed Artists, Mbongeni Ngema's company that produced Sarafina.

After Sarafina's success on Broadway in the US, Mhlongo emerged as a leading artist whose choreographic exploits in popular culture productions are well-known.

Mhlongo has worked with most of the country's top artists. He is modest about his success and fame, including the fortune he is said to have amassed.

Gert Sibande: The Lion of the East is a multi-million rand musical commissioned by the Mpumalanga provincial government. It is about the potato boycott - led by Sibande - in the 1950s.

The musical will open next month, first in Mpumalanga before going national.