Five Batswana Actors make the Selection for Broadway Hit, Sarafina!

  • 252 auditioned,11 absorbed into other projects
  • Sarafina! to tour SA, Mexico, Italy and the US


After successfully hosting casting auditions for renowned Broadway hit ‘Sarafina!’ earlier this month, five Batswana will be joining other cast members of the award winning production next month.

The casting call attracted 252 hopefuls and only five women landed a two-year job contract for Sarafina! while two men were selected for further trials into the cast and will all be travelling to Durban for rehearsals. The auditions were held to revive the classical stage play that is set to tour South Africa, Mexico, Italy and the USA, among others.

“From the auditions there are other Batswana performers who were not successful to get into Sarafina! However, 11 were absorbed into other upcoming projects that include a training workshop while six were selected for the much-anticipated Born Black Music festival,” Semi House Productions Programmes and PR Manager, Jones Banda, told Time Out.

Sarafina! is a stage play written and directed by Dr. Mbongeni Ngema, who has also written and directed Woza Albert, Township Fever and Asinamali, among many others. As the acclaimed and award-winning musical and stage director, Dr. Ngema is best known for Sarafina!, which was nominated for five Tony Awards and later for the prestigious Grammy Awards.

The musical won 11 NAACP Image Awards, enjoyed two years of a Broadway run, toured the US, Europe, Australia and Japan and was later adapted into a feature film starring Whoopi Goldberg, Leleti Khumalo and Mariam Makeba. The stage production will give the selected local creatives a chance to showcase their talent on the world stage while they make a living from their craft.

Said Banda: “Other benefits include instilling professionalism to individuals who will then have an advantage over other performers after being a part of the Sarafina! journey. The global tour projects a positive light on Botswana’s ability to collaborate with big production companies in efforts to strengthen the industry and as a result opens up funding opportunities for the local industry.”

Semi House Productions conducted the auditions in collaboration with Committed Artists from South Africa. Semi House Productions is a privately registered company whose mission is to create platforms of creative arts development, opportunities and management to improve the livelihood of creative artists.

The partnership between Semi House and Committed Artists is based on cultural exchange and theatre development particularly to benefit the local artists and aspirants. The partnership has an annual event schedule that includes festivals, workshops, tours and productions of theatre and television stories that will cast talented youth and elders.
“As Semi House Productions, we want to make it transparent that these five individuals’ contracts while employed by Committed Artists in South Africa, will be managed by us and all communications and welfare issues will and must be channelled and addressed to and by us,” Banda said.