29 Dec 2010

Opera about Winnie Mandela to open next year

12:17 pm on 29 December 2010

An opera about the life of Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, the ex-wife of former South African president Nelson Mandela, is to premiere in Pretoria next year.

The lyrics will combine English and Xhosa and the opera will feature a 60-piece orchestra performing western and African music.

It is believed to be the first opera fully composed and orchestrated in the country. The cast will be revealed in January.

The opera is due to premiere at the State Theatre in Pretoria on 28 April.

It combines the team of South African-born composer and musician Bongani Ndodana-Breen and filmmaker Warren Wilensky.

The BBC reports Winnie Mandikizela-Mandela came to attention in 1964 when her then- husband Nelson was sentenced to life imprisonment.

She was arrested in 1969 for printing and distributing anti-apatheid literature.

She separated from her husband in 1992 and they divorced in 1996.

In 2003, she was found guilty on charges of fraud and theft.