From the news desk

Orphan’s Tale back on stage tonight

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Islamic Relief South Africa (IRSA) and Zain Bhikha Studios have brought the heart-warming play “An Orphan’s Tale” back, due to popular demand. The play is a wonderful musical, presented by the learners from the Leadership College. The high school is situated in Manenberg, a community plagued by socio-economic challenges. The story comes to life because a lot of the times, the circumstances are close to home.

This heartfelt play is set in South Africa where the characters bring their story from Johannesburg to Cape Town. It is about the journey of four orphan children on a journey to find God.

Many of Zain Bhikha’s songs represent important times in his life and reflect lessons that he has learnt through his personal experience. His music inspires and encourages people to be proud of their faith and to work towards becoming better people.

According to Bhikha, the story was inspired by the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) himself.

“Islam puts so much emphasis on the orphan and because the Prophet (pbuh) himself was an orphan, he was constantly encouraging others to look after the orphans, I felt inspired to write this story,” he told VOC.

The play was written a long time ago and only on meeting the talented students of The Leadership College, did he decide to revive the production. The students brought their own unique style to the show.

“These children sing from the heart and they are telling the story about love and finding hope amidst all their despair,” says Bhikha.

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“For me, every night, watching the play, still brings tears to my eyes. Just watching them come alive and telling this amazing story. I’m proud to be part of showcasing these wonderful learners on stage.”

On Thursday evening, VOC got a chance to catch a pre-screening of the show and mingled with the cast and crew backstage.  One of the main actors, Ikez, played by Taahir Schoor, said that acting in this play has helped him develop socially. He can in many ways relate to his character and he has learned a lot from him.

“I love working with Zain Bhikha. He is a kind man and he does a lot for us,” he added.

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“I can relate to my character because I have had quite a bit of hardships in my life which are similar to that of my characters,” said Monique, a main character in the play.

“I feel very excited to work with Zain Bhikha again and privileged to help out,” said Shamiema Pretorius, a crew member.

The orphans from the Manenberg Safe House as well as the learners form The Leadership College were invited to the matinee show. They had lots of fun and were very grateful to Islamic Relief for inviting them.

“I really enjoyed the show. It was awesome!” says Ayesha Chachoo, from Manenberg safe house.

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Many people have come to watch the show for the second time.

“We had lots of young and old people. A very big spectrum. For the first time, after a long time, the kids really brought it today. It was so emotional; I was crying up in my booth,” exclaimed Bhikha.

The entire production was carried out by the youth from The Leadership College, under the guidance of Zain Bhikha and the production manager. This has given the children an opportunity to become responsible and gain leadership skills.

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Bhikha says that his long affiliation with them led to him partnering with Islamic Relief.

“I feel the wonderful work they do and I have such a close relationship with them.”

Islamic Relief has long been involved with the 2 Oceans Education Foundation, an organization that seeks to provide quality education by establishing institutions that provide a free and low-cost, quality and private education in impoverished areas . The foundation’s programme aims to turn ordinary children into the country’s future leaders.

An Orphan’s Tale will run from Friday 9th October until Sunday 11th October at the Islamia College Auditorium in Lansdowne, Cape Town. All proceeds of this fundraising initiative will support Islamic Relief and the 2 Oceans Education Foundation’s “Educate a Leader” campaign.

Tickets are available from the Islamic Relief Cape Town office (396 Imam Haron Road, Lansdowne) and costs R100 per person. For more information call Islamic Relief South Africa on 021 696 0145 or email VOC (Amina Waggie)

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