PRETORIA, South Africa (AP) — The Soweto-born soprano who plays Winnie Madikizela-Mandela in a new opera says the story is deeply familiar.
In an interview ahead of Thursday’s premiere of “Winnie the Opera,” Tsakane Maswanganyi says, “It’s something that I grew up knowing. It’s part of my history.”
The opera depicts Madikizela-Mandela facing accusations she helped a gang of young men terrorize Soweto in the late 1980s, but it also lauds her for speaking out against apartheid and keeping her then husband Nelson Mandela’s struggle alive during his long years in prison.
Opera has been used to tell the stories of other complex contemporary figures. “Winnie” producer Mfundi Vundla says the woman known as the “mother of the nation” is “is reviled by many, hero-worshipped by many.”
Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.