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Bhikha, IRSA collaborate for ‘An Orphans Tale’

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South Africa’s most prominent Nasheed artist, Zain Bhikha, is planning to delve into the unchartered waters of stage production, with a new play entitled ‘An Orphan’s Tale’. Run in partnership with Islamic Relief South Africa (IRSA), the play will be directed, produced and scored by Bhikha himself and will star students from the Leadership College in Manenberg.

An Orphans Tale marks the first time Bhikha has attempted a stage production of this magnitude, having previously attempted hosting the play in Pretoria years ago. Speaking to VOC’s Breakfast Beat, he confessed himself excited at having found the right school and students to bring the script to life.

“I’ve visited the school. It is really a wonderful initiative and the learners are just so talented, both in acting and singing,” he said.

The cast will compromise 10 students from the Leadership College, as well as between 10 and 12 students working as supporting crew members. The play will almost entirely be run by the students of the school, affording them an opportunity to showcase their talent.

With a keen interest in highlighting the plight of the more vulnerable members of society, Bhikha said he was motivated to right a script focused on the lives of South Africa’s destitute orphans. The story itself would tell the tale of four orphan children living on the streets of Johannesburg and Cape Town, “and their inspirational journey to find god”.

“It has great lessons for us to learn about life, love, and getting through the tests that Allah places through us,” he said.

The play has received a number of sponsors, meaning all productions costs have been covered. As a result, all proceeds from tickets sales will go towards providing much needed financial aid to the school, which is a free schooling project. The money would likely be used to construct new classrooms, or a prayer room.

“It is really a wonderful opportunity to see these young learners telling an amazing story, but also supporting their school, which is in great need of funds,” he said.

Should the play prove a success, Bhikha suggested they would consider taking the show over to Johannesburg and Durban, with the very same cast.

An Orphan’s Tale will be staged at the Islamia Auditorium from Wednesday 29th October, until Sunday 2nd November. Shows will take place on Wednesday and Thursday afternoon, Friday and Saturday evening, and Sunday afternoon. VOC (Mubeen Banderker)

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