“It’s only history if you steal something really large – like a country. Then it’s history”.
In west central Johannesburg, artists, activists and illegal bars make up the cultural heart of South Africa: the freehold township of Sophiatown, home to Mandela, Tutu, Nkosi and Miriam Makeba. With their Group Areas Act, the apartheid regime seeks to racially and geographically segregate the diverse population and Sophiatown finds its very existence threatened.
When local resident and shebeen-owner Mamariti’s politically charged household welcomes a Jewish girl, Ruth Golden, to stay, class warfare, racism and rebellion erupt.Political journalist Jakes, truanting teenager Lulu, local gangster Mingus, his girlfriend Precious, disturbed henchman Charlie and local politician and mystic Fafhee all seek to save their home from the imminent construction of a whites-only suburb, aptly named ‘Triomf’.
An evocative piece of political musical theatre, Sophiatown is a history lesson that won’t be easily forgotten.