NCCU Fall Theater Season Opens with Sarafina!

The North Carolina Central University Department of Theatre opens its fall season with the Broadway musical Sarafina!. Performances are scheduled for Oct. 1, 2, 8 and 9 at 8 p.m., with matinee performances on Oct. 3 and 10 at 2 p.m., in the University Theater.

Written by South African playwright Mbongeni Ngema, Sarafina! takes place at Morris Isaacson High School in Soweto, where in 1976 about 200,000 black students assembled to protest against a government decree that imposed the “official” language of Afrikaans as the new medium of instruction in their classes, instead of their own language. Through story and song, Sarafina! follows the activities of a fictional class and, in particular, one girl named Sarafina, who inspires her classmates with her commitment to the struggle against apartheid.

“This play takes us into a world of social consciousness and captures a panoramic view of the complexities of human relationship from mankind’s attempt to reach the ultimate concept of world peace to the intrinsic premise of individual self-worth,” said director Stephanie “Asabi” Howard, assistant professor of theater. Howard is confident that audience members will leave thoroughly moved by the experience. “The extraordinary life of the South African is captured through an account of historical events that unify the experience of any group of people who have ever fought for equality,” she said. “The story is very humorous and at times extremely sad.”

NCCU students taking on the challenging roles of South Africans include: Jessica Jones as Sarafina, the student everyone loves for various reasons; Quan Acapella as Colgate, the narrator with a dazzling smile; Kayln Smith as Teaspoon, the school gossip; Kammeran Giggers as Mistress, the teacher who often uses the phrase ‘It’s a pity,’ and Justin Smith as Stimela, the school trendsetter. Darius Burruss provides musical direction and Tina Yarborough Liggins is the choreographer.

All shows are $15 general admission, and $10 for students, senior citizens and faculty. Tickets can be purchased through the NCCU ticket office at (919) 530-5170.