The South African State Theatre, by arrangement with DALRO (Pty) Limited proudly presents a play by Junction Avenue Theatre Company Directed by Aubrey W Sekhabi Written by Malcolm Purkey Sophiatown is a lively, memorable, timeless musical that is being revived with a new, young cast under the experienced eye of director Aubrey Sekhabi to delight today’s audiences. Sophiatown became known as the ‘Chicago of South Africa’, a place where shebeen queens, gangsters, politicians and black and white ‘Bohemians’ rubbed shoulders and traded drinks in a heady atmosphere fizzing with music, style and rebellion. This vibrant community produced some of South Africa’s most famous musicians, artists, writers, journalists and politicians as urban African culture formed here during the repressive 1940’s and 1950’s. The play is an imaginative reconstruction of an extraordinary story of journalists who set up a house together and advertised for another housemate to come and live with them. Despite the apartheid legislation of those days, they managed to obtain permission for a white Jewish woman to move in. This character was Ruth Golden from Yeoville, who turned up with a suitcase on the Sophiatown doorstep of an explosive journalist, Jakes. The challenge was integration. The play is interspersed throughout with acapella harmony and original songs from the period of Sophiatown, or Kofifi as it was fondly known. Despite the violence and poverty, Sophiatown was a legendary black cultural hub and the epicentre of politics, jazz and blues. It symbolised a society that allowed a freedom of action, association and expression, where people lived together in harmony, undivided by race or colour. The very existence of Sophiatown as a ‘mixed’ suburb was in direct contradiction to the apartheid policy of geographically separating people according to their colour. Its heyday finally ended when the authorities deliberately tore the area apart.