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Prophet and pioneer of reggae music in Africa, Carlos Djedje, will be honoured on home soil in June when the Tshwane University of Technology’s Department of Performing Arts (Musical Theatre) stages a one-of-a-kind musical loosely based on the artist’s life. The musical, King inna de Jungle (the title of one of Djedje’s songs) is directed by lecturer Rostislava Pashkevitch who also co-wrote the musical with actor and playwright, Patrick Sanku Bokaba. 

When Djedje and Pashkevitch met for the first time, there was an instant connection between them. She was so intrigued by his narrative that she decided there and then to translate it into a fitting musical honouring the guru. Djedje since refers to her as his adopted daughter.

She knew that it would be a daunting task. “Reggae’s beat is very complicated and it has a unique rhythmical pattern that is unlike that of popular musicals,” says Pashkevitch. However, the vivacious lecturer is known for not shying away from a challenge. “I am grateful to Carlos for trusting me with his life and music,” she adds.

Djedje was born in Mozambique 67 years ago and has performed since the age of 10. He is no stranger to the world’s music stages and has, among others, performed at the prestigious Penang World Music Festival in Malaysia, where he outshone Grammy Award winning artists.

His early albums saw his role inextricably linked to the struggle for freedom. “It was a rocky road. My music was banned by the apartheid government.” he recalls. However, this motivated him to pursue his music to fight injustices with his signature therapeutic compositions and lyrics.

Since the commencement of the rehearsals of King inna de Jungle earlier this year, Djedge has taught students invaluable life lessons such as: that dedication and self-discipline are key to a long career in this industry and they should take care of themselves, physically and emotionally. “Young musicians must first attend school. How can you run a business without education? Without education your life will be bleak.  What you need in freedom is to be educated,” he alludes.

King inna de Jungle intertwines three genres, namely African conscious reggae, house music and original compositions. The production features 65 Musical Theatre students and a life band.

Also on the creative team is Performing Arts alumnus, Paul Modjadji, who is in charge of the choreography. He is assisted by Bryan Mtsweni, a fourth-year Musical Theatre student.

Musical direction will be done by Carlos and Josef Moshidi, leader of the Carlos Djedje band, The Projectors. Josef is also a radio presenter and DJ, known as DJ Boogie Man International.

The set is designed by Anre Fourie and the costumes by Motshidisi Manyeneng, both lecturers at the Department of Entertainment Technology. The set resembles the streets of Atteridgeville, west of Pretoria, where Djedje currently stays.

“The production has a lot of fictional characters and situations,” says Pashkevitch. Without letting the cat out of the bag, she adds that the story is told through a radio interview which is led by the characters who portray the vibrant DJJD, Carlos, and his producer, Sir Lefa. “On his way to Jamaica, Sir Lefa takes Carlos to a last minute radio interview, where something totally unexpected is revealed.”

Pashkevitch invites audiences not to miss the first-ever musical performed in a reggae concert style (singing and dancing along are encouraged) and to experience first-class entertainment.

King inna de Jungle will be performed at the Breytenbach Theatre as follows: 13 – 24 June 2017 at 19:00, with matinees on 17 and 24 June at 14:00. Tickets are R100 (adults) and R50 (students and pensioners). For bookings, please phone 012 382 2630/082 884 8946 during office hours, or email breytie@tut.ac.za or visit www.tut.ac.za/goto/breytie.

The Breytenbach Theatre is situated at 137 Gerhard Moerdyk Street, Sunnyside, Pretoria. Safe parking is available.

For more information on the Tshwane University of Technology please contact Willa de Ruyter on tel: 012 382 5352 or send an email to deruyterw@tut.ac.za.

 
Scenes from King inna de Jungle.