Philip Miller in association with The Market Theatre, brings you the world premiere of Nkoli: The Vogue-Opera.
Imagine it’s the 13th of October 1990. Simon Nkoli is leading the first Gay Pride March in Africa, four years ahead of Nelson Mandela’s presidency and South Africa’s first democratic elections. Now picture a classic fashion runway as used in Black Queer Vogueing events. Performers walk the runway, competing in different categories, with song and dance battles. Sometimes it is playful sparring, other times it is all-out-style war. Large video projections show images of Simon Nkoli; his letters from prison, Sebokeng township and anti-apartheid protest marches.
This is Nkoli: The Vogue-Opera about the life and trials of Simon Nkoli, a gay anti-apartheid freedom fighter who was imprisoned for four years in the famous Delmas Treason trial (1985-1988). Simon Nkoli was at the forefront of the queer liberation movement in South Africa, and if it weren’t for him, South Africa would not have been the first country in the world to explicitly protect sexual minorities.
With a cast of more than 26 top singers, dancers, voguers and musicians the production is highly contemporary in feel with a mix of rap, opera, protest songs and archival audio clips.