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Latest News Afrovibes Festival 2014 comes to The Drum and mac birmingham, Mon 20 – Sun 26 Oct


Afrovibes Festival 2014 comes to The Drum and mac birmingham, Mon 20 – Sun 26 Oct

July 4th, 2014 11:20 am

On the 20th anniversary of democracy  in South Africa, Afrovibes Festival returns to Birmingham. The biennial festival, which celebrates the performing and visual arts of South Africa, made its UK debut in 2010, and is poised to return for a third, highly entertaining and thought-provoking four week season from Mon 13 Oct to Sat 8 Nov 2014. This year Birmingham will be hosting events and performances at The Drum and mac birmingham from Mon 20 to Sun 26 Oct.

Featuring an eclectic, contemporary programme of theatre, dance, music, song, photography and film, the fifty-strong festival ensemble will consist of individual theatre and dance companies from all over South Africa with actors, dancers, directors, playwrights, choreographers, musicians, singers … and one photographer.

The Drum and mac birmingham will host a full week of performances and events, giving audiences a unique opportunity to enjoy a diverse programme of quality work including political drama, astonishing real life stories, stunning contemporary dance, great music, film and photography.

In addition, both venues will host a Township Cafe where visitors can enjoy typical South African food and drink while taking in music, poetry, talks and free pop-up performances by local artists as well as Afrovibes performers.

Mukhtar Dar, Director of Arts & Marketing at The Drum, said: “Birmingham has a long and endearing associated with South Africa, which is reflected in the extensive links amongst our artists, musicians and activists and more recently the Drum’s Nelson Mandela tribute was attended by hundreds of people from across Birmingham’s diverse communities. As the UK’s premier intercultural art centre, The Drum is proud to be once again hosting the Afrovibes Festival and especially to be working in partnership with mac Birmingham, building in past success to deliver a truly unique cultural experience across both venues.”

Louisa Davies, Performing Arts Producer at mac birmingham added: “Audiences across both our venues will have a great opportunity to enjoy a slice of contemporary theatre, music and dance, with performances that echo the energy and positivity of the new South Africa, informed by past struggles. Afrovibes promises to offer an exciting eclectic mix of events that will engage and amaze in equal measure. We look forward to sharing the programme with audiences across the West Midlands this autumn alongside The Drum.”

Artistic Director James Ngcobo, who is also Artistic Director of the Market Theatre in Johannesburg says: “In 1994 a new nation was born.  Since then our artists have been showing the world that South Africa has stories to tell: stories that speak to the collective memory of who we are.  Yet at the same time they speak of life in South Africa today – stories that link us with the world.”

Afrovibes Producer and UK Arts International Director Jan Ryan says: “2014 is an important year for South Africa, marking as it does the 20th anniversary of the country’s first democratic elections. We are absolutely delighted that Afrovibes will once again be coming to the UK to commemorate this event.”

For more information on Afrovibes at The Drum, call our Box Office on 0121 333 2444, or visit www.the-drum.org.uk, Like on facebook at Afrovibes and follow on Twitter @Afrovibes with #afrovibes


Afrovibes is more than just a show. The Township Café at each venue provides the hub for creative work by local organisations and other professional performances as well as opportunities for people to participate.

The Drum is offering young people the chance to get up close, learn, and become part of the festival through free schools and youth education outreach programmes. This includes free workshops, education opportunities and performance opportunities. If you are a teacher or youth group leader interested in getting involved, contact The Drum on 0121 333 2444.

The Drum

Biko’s Quest
Thu 23 Oct, 7:30pm

Tickets: £10.50 (£8.50)
Earlybird Tickets: £8.50 (£6.50), available until 5pm, Sun 5 Oct

Inspired by the Steve Biko Foundation’s photographic exhibition, The Quest for a True Humanity, Biko’s Quest is an energetic large-cast dance piece about the world famous anti-apartheid activist and Black Consciousness Movement founder’s life and sudden death in 1977 (aged 29) while he was in police detention.

“It is better to die for an idea that will live, than to live for an idea that will die”Steve Biko

Directed by Mandla Mbothwe

Choreography by Jackie Manyaapelo, Ina Wichterich-Mogane and Mzo Gasa

Fri 24 Oct, 7:30pm

Tickets: £8.50 (£6.50)
Earlybird Tickets: £7.50 (£5.50), available until 5pm, Sun 5 Oct

Mamela tells the remarkable stories of eight young women, the ‘born free’ generation, from the Eastern Cape, living in post-apartheid South Africa. They tell their own moving stories through words, song and dance and talk about the dreams they have for themselves, their country, and the future.

Sat 25 Oct

Tickets: £12.50 (£10.50)
Earlybird Tickets: £7.50 (£5.50), available until 5pm, Sun 5 Oct

Presley Chweneyagae, star of the 2006 Oscar-winning film Tsotsi, leads a company of five actors in this play by Mpumelelo Paul Grootboom, a wickedly insightful exploration of the art of persuasion using some of the most famous speeches of Thabo Mbeki, who succeeded Nelson Mandela as President of South Africa in 1999.

mac birmingham

The Soil
Mon 20 Oct, 8pm

Tickets: £12 (£10)
Earlybird Tickets: £10 (£8), available until 5pm, Sun 5 Oct

Soweto’s award-winning, platinum-selling beatbox a cappella group combine an eclectic mix of township jazz, hip hop and Afro-pop.  The trio – Buhle (Soil Sister), Ntsika (Fana-tastic) and Phindo (Master P) – met at school in 2003, and their infectious music has taken them all over the world.

The Sid Peacock Youth Ensemble (mac Associate Artist funded by Arts Council England) will also perform as part of the opening night event.

Tue 21 Oct, 8pm

Tickets: £12 (£10)
Earlybird Tickets: £10 (£8), available until 5pm, Sun 5 Oct

In January 2008, in Skierlik, west of Pretoria, 17 year-old Johan Nel went on a racially motivated shooting spree killing four people and wounding eight.  The massacre had tragic effects on those left behind. Skierlik, a solo show written and performed by award-winning playwright Phillip M Dikotla, is the story of one man returning to the scene of the carnage.

Rainbow Scars
Wed 22 & Thu 23 Oct, 8pm

Tickets: £12 (£10)
Earlybird Tickets: £10 (£8), available until 5pm, Sun 5 Oct

Written by Mike Van Graan, one of SA’s most incisive playwrights, Rainbow Scars starts in 1994 in the new Rainbow Nation, the term coined by Archbishop Desmond Tutu to describe post-apartheid South Africa.  Lindiwe is a black teenager who has been adopted by white parents and is forced to confront her racial identity when contacted by a long lost cousin.