I attended another Artscape performance last week. The musical “Reflection of A Forgotten Youth” focused on South African youth in 1976. The performance wasn’t what I imagined it would be.
South Africa Youth Day
June 16, 1976 “marked the beginning of the Soweto Uprising, a series of escalating protests around the country, especially in Cape Town”. South Africa celebrates Youth Day every 16 June. It’s a day the country “reflects on the massacre of school children during the Soweto Uprising of 1976“.
Artscape Creative Director Mandla Mbothwe inspired the production “invoking the spirit of forgotten youth”. Trumpeter Mandla Mlangeni performs with the Gugulethu Voices Choir, Cape Town Philharmonic, Amandla Freedom Ensemble, and poet Koleka Putuma. Mlangeni is Standard Bank Young Artist for Jazz 2019 and the Center for Humanities Research (CHR) Artist in Residence.
Jazz, Classical, and Indigenous Music
The performance combined jazz, classical, and indigenous music presented by a cast of accomplished artists including Ariel Zamonsky, Afrika Mkhize, Lesego Rampolokeng, Mark Fransman, and Thembi Mtshali-Jones,.
“April 16, 2019 is the 43rd anniversary of the “historic June 16, 1976 uprisings that changed the course of South African history.”
“Oratorio of A Forgotten Youth harnesses choral traditions that define struggles against apartheid with contemporary musical forms.”
According to Cape Town Philharmonic CEO Louis Heyneman, the collaboration “debunks the myth that classically trained musicians are stuck in a formal mold and not adaptable to other genres”. He adds, “We are an orchestra for all seasons, and bringing seemingly opposing musical forms together is part of who we are”.
It was a memorable evening – a fitting and heartfelt remembrance.