Gibson Kente. Picture: JOE SEFALE/ TIMES MEDIA
Gibson Kente. Picture: JOE SEFALE/ TIMES MEDIA

The late Gibson Kente, known as the "Father of Theatre" in SA‚ will be honoured with a musical tribute commemorating his life and legacy this December by the Soweto Theatre.

Kente‚ who helped launched the careers of South African icons such as Darlington Michaels‚ Sello Maake Ka-Ncube and Mbongeni Ngema‚ will have his life and times documented in the "mother of all musicals" directed by Makhaola Ndebele.

"I think Gibson Kente is the foremost figure in SA‚ especially where musical theatre is concerned. I think his influence has often been underplayed‚" Ndebele said, adding that the Soweto Theatre saw it necessary to commemorate the man whose life has impacted many in the entertainment industry.

He is considered a "culture luminary and godfather of South African theatre"‚ with plays such as How Long‚ I Believe and Too Late and many others.

The play‚ titled A Musical Tribute to Gibson Kente‚ aims to take the audience through the trials and tribulations of his life while highlighting the great South African musical productions he created.

Kente‚ who died in 2004 of an HIV-related illness‚ expressed the motion of living under a repressive and foreign regime through art. He was a director‚ producer‚ playwright‚ composer and choreographer. Said Ndebele: "It’s important to note that it is a musical tribute, so we are looking at songs that cover different aspects of his career‚ that were part of his plays. So we will concentrate mostly on the music and then let people in‚ in terms of the kind of life that he led."

In the true spirit of Kente‚ the musical will showcase local and fresh talent‚ featuring Gugu Mbongwa‚ Xolisile Bongwana and Paballo Sithe. The Soweto Theatre will showcase the 10-day musical tribute from December 7 to 17 2017.

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