Mandela opera cancelled after 3 shows

2014-05-26 20:24

Johannesburg - An opera telling the life story of struggle icon and former president Nelson Mandela showed only three performances before it closed down for lack of funds, its producer said Monday.

Madiba: The African Opera premiered on Friday at the State Theatre in Pretoria, but was forced to close three days later when it ran out of money to pay performers.

"This is due to non-payment from Lotto," said producer Unathi Mtirara, who is also Mandela's grandnephew.

"We are still waiting for them to pay, we couldn't continue pending that deal."

The opera, which tells Mandela's early life, was supposed to have been taken from Pretoria to Qunu, Madiba's childhood village and final resting place. 

It was then expected to tour South Africa, before heading overseas.

Mandela died on 5 December at the age of 95 after a lengthy illness.

Several books and movies about his life have been produced locally and abroad, including the highly acclaimed The Long Walk to Freedom featuring Idris Alba.

The State Theatre confirmed the cancellation of performances, but refused to give details on the private production.

The National Lottery is a source of funding for many art programmes and charities, but sometimes struggles to cover some of the applicants.


  • Sias Snyman - 2014-05-26 20:36

    another Sarafina ?

      Zip Reeper - 2014-05-27 10:01

      another failure? all part of madiba's legacy!

      Bonham Butt - 2014-05-27 10:07

      Sandra, what is wrong with you?? Show a bit of respect.

      Sandra Rennie - 2014-05-27 11:03

      Bonham Butt Respect for whom ?

      Christine Millman - 2014-05-27 15:01

      Sandra - you are part of the colonial type mentality that got your country in so much hate history? believe me, in the grand scheme of things you're a mental midget. take YOUR bastard self to London... you're a small minded nit-wit that has NO idea the world views Madiba... know why? because you're a hateful person. just plain hateful

      Junior Mahlo - 2014-05-27 16:27

      Sandra you are one of the reasons I'm not supprised Mugabe kicked your likes out of Zimbabwe

  • Zuma Etolls - 2014-05-26 20:39

    Some good news for a change.

      Gideon de Klerk - 2014-05-27 08:46

      Yip...good to know it's not just me who's not getting paid by LOTTO!!!

      Margaret Cox - 2014-05-27 13:12

      There are a million more worthy causes for Lotto funds who are also not getting paid.

  • Landile Mamve - 2014-05-26 20:45

    Dragging his name in the mud once again...he must turning in his grave...the millions he spent 27yrs in jail for have built Nkandla.

      Linds Ron-House - 2014-05-26 21:26

      Are going to milk this cow (Nkandla) until it runs dry?

      joe.dow.5203 - 2014-05-26 21:34

      Linds, If Nkandla is a cow, it must be the most expensive cow, and it will therefore take years before it runs dry. Self-enrichment deserves to be mentioned over and over.

      Nichola Smith - 2014-05-26 21:49

      This cow and all the other moo-moos he has made against his people WHO PAY HIS SALARY!

      Godfrey Welman - 2014-05-26 22:11

      @Linds....the sad part is ALL the ministers involved in Nkandla took the OATH again today. Small wonder, why, there was laughter when Nxesi's name was read out.

      Gary Guy - 2014-05-27 08:11

      No Linds - not until it runs dry - until the ANC does the honourable thing, takes responsibility for the theft instead of trying to hide it and hold someone senior accountable. Unlike you, a lot of people are not happy to just let time lessen its significance.

  • Nichola Smith - 2014-05-26 21:48

    But the producer goes home to millions! Milking his grand daddy ... just can't get a regular job and pay regular taxes ...

      Kevin Marsh - 2014-05-27 06:43

      Wants a handout .

  • Derek Smith - 2014-05-26 21:55

    Do forgive the grin on my face....

  • Stalin Sims - 2014-05-26 21:59

    hooray. many of us know the story of mandela by now, that it's told in opera, books or films doesn't make it any different, it's still the story of mandela and many of us, no let me just i, i'm tired of this story, it's overtold. please give creativity a chance and write new stories instead of trying to cash in on the mandela name.

      Hugh Robinson - 2014-05-27 07:14

      How else do we create Gods and Myths. The problem is that both are used to suppress others or as in Sa's case accept that the state thinks and cares for you.

  • Lorna Mosca - 2014-05-26 22:17

    Yip, lets rather spend millions on the presidential inauguration and the after party for his the newly elected cabinet. Party, party........ That's why Mr. Pravin Gordhan was demoted because he said NO to all the Johnny Walker..........

  • Thabang Seema - 2014-05-26 22:21

    It is really aburd this is a burning issue its hight time that the department of arts & culture should actully devise stratigic ways to preserve the opera music ARTform,I mean the artform is offered in tertiarry level but however the students should relay on getting a job overseas.some of the performers there are opera students such a predicament is really discouraging for them, me to included. The arts nd culture should start putting our artform in existence as far as what's happening now its really being killed and discouranges human creativity..

      Sterling Ferguson - 2014-05-26 22:27

      Opera appeals to the middle and upper class all over the world and the SA society doesn't have a large middle and upper class to support opera.

      DarrenCooper68 - 2014-05-27 06:31

      Throughout the ages, arts have to be commercially viable. If this has to rely on lotto, it is obviously not good enough to draw the crowds. The basic fundamentals don't change because simply because the central theme is Mandela. The handout mentality is to blame.

  • Mophethe Khotso Tsekeletsa - 2014-05-26 22:35

    What new hero story are we supposed to tell? Being proud of our heritage is it a problem? Then tell us a better story and stop critisicing.

      Sandra Rennie - 2014-05-26 23:43

      Mophethe The are no heroes - there never were any heroes ! They were all damn criminals, past and present !

  • Rosemary Havenga - 2014-05-27 02:30

    Die mense is siek en sat vir die hele Mandela storie. Find another bleeding heart story, this one is SOLD OUT. Get real.

  • Kevin Marsh - 2014-05-27 06:40

    Stop operating on handouts . That is ANC mentality.

  • Phukza Tshwani Mogotsi - 2014-05-27 08:07

    David Olivier did you go to the show?

      Helene Jacobs - 2014-05-27 13:19

      Not interested.

  • mwicraig - 2014-05-27 08:14

    Who cares about dead terrorists anyway?

  • Kobus Pienaar - 2014-05-27 08:48

    Why should the lotto pay for a show/opera. Any show that cannot pay for its expenses from attendance should not be on the stage.

  • Tshwarelo Percy Mbedzi - 2014-05-27 09:15

    Even if we are not proud of our current leaders, such comments justifies our loyalty to the ANC.

  • Valerie Widmann - 2014-05-27 09:28

    We've already bought out tickets to watch it here in Munich...come over already!

  • Alice Pretorius - 2014-05-27 09:45

    Not so easy to cash in on an icon when the major part of our population cannot afford an opera ticket!!

  • Ralethisa Majou Motlogelwa - 2014-05-27 14:39

    You guys are bitter, you turn anything into a political issue. Its time that you consider migrating. This is about arts and culture and if you are not interested in them just shut up. Nxa

  • Albert Combrink - 2014-05-27 22:30

    I feel very sorry for the artists who worked so hard to bring this tremendous project to the stage. Political ideologies aside, think of their bread and butter, after having already spent the time and effort. Lott has the millions in the bank, why so imcompetent in administering it?

  • Louw Coetzee - 2014-05-27 23:18

    Amazing comments! From downright insulting, to ignorant to just plain stupid. Keep on making South Africa proud. There was some very well informed comments - that got disliked? Why? Oh well.....Remember that social media revolt is no revolt at all. No amount of indignation you post here will change anything. You will have to learn from the Tibetans and set yourself on fire in public - that is showing discontent! - that changes stuff. But, like you, me too am not ready to do that just yet!

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