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Mother Africa brings ‘Khayelitsha’ to the UK

For ten years, the shows of Mother Africa have been bringing the pulse of the African continent to the stage. More than two million visitors worldwide have already been thrilled by the zest for life demonstrated by some of Africa’s leading artists, musicians and dancers.

In 2014, after a successful run on New York’s Broadway, the production was nominated for best show performance at the Drama Desk Awards, Broadway’s equivalent of the Oscars. Now, a brand-new show takes audiences to Khayelitsha, one of the biggest townships in South Africa. From 21 February to 12 March, Khayelitsha will be performed live for the first time in the UK, at the Peacock Theatre in London’s West End.

About 25km away from the city of Cape Town and Table Mountain lies Khayelitsha. Close to two million people live in Khayelitsha – the Xhosa word for “New Home” – in self-built shacks made of panel sheets, wood and cardboard. Founded as a sanctuary for black people, who had been banned from South African cities by the Apartheid government, Khayelitsha remains plagued by violence and crime – but is also a place of hope, talent and positive energy, on which the show focuses.

In Khayelitsha, young athletes from a host of different African nations will present their motherland in the most heartfelt way: joyful, colourful, creative and confident. The hustle and bustle of the townships is the central theme of the show, uniting dance, song and artistry with quotations from African history and bridges to European culture.

In Khayelitsha, young athletes from a host of different African nations present their motherland in the most heartfelt way: joyful, colourful, creative and confident

The show sees Khayelitsha’s ‘inhabitants’ making their way through the chaos of the township with neckbreaking unicycle constructions made of rebuilt bikes and pushcarts. Ladders or washbowls suddenly become props for fabulous creativity. Young people sing and dance in the street, while others build human pyramids, performing breathtaking Icarian games or contortion acts on simple handcarts. Life in Africa is often a balancing act between tradition and modernity – so it’s no wonder that in Khayelitsha, Zulu dance and traditional music meet cool grooves and modern breakdancing.

In Khayelitsha, Mother Africa presents a colourful world, packed with dance, music and acrobatics, highlighting a new, unique view of Africa as a land of stunning beauty.

Mother Africa is more than just a circus show – it is a journey through the African continent, guided by some of its most talented performers. As the only African circus production, Mother Africa is giving African artists the opportunity to present themselves to audiences on an international level. Only ‘real’ African artists are cast for Mother Africa – artists whose lives are firmly rooted in this exciting, vibrant continent full of contrasts.


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