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SARAFINA A Musical in 2 Acts. (Book) Written by Mbongeni Ngema. Music and lyrics by Mbongeni Ngema. Additional songs by Hugh Masekela. Musical arrangements by Mbongeni Ngema and Hugh Masekela. Cort Theatre, Broadway. Opened 28th January, 1988; closed 2nd July, 1989 after (597 performances.) SYNOPSIS Sarafina! takes place at Morris Isaacson High School in Soweto, where, in 1976, about 200,000 black students assembled to protest against government decree that imposed the "official" language of Afrikaans as the new medium of instruction in their classes, instead of their own language, Zulu. The police and army came to break up the crowd, and many children were injured or killed. The uprising marked the beginning of a period of violent unrest that continues even today. The students' focus has grown beyond the issue of Afrikaans to encompass every aspect of the black political struggle. Through story and song, Sarafina! follows the activities of a fictional classat today's Morris Isaacson and, in particular, one girl named Sarafina who inspires her classmates with her commitment to the struggle against the government. In the musical's explosive finale the students present a class play about the symbolic Day of Liberation they all dream of—when their hero, Nelson Mandela is released after more than 20 years in prison. STORY Act I begins as the students introduce themselves in song. One student named Colgate (known for his dazzling smile, "which is a killer for women") acts as narrator and explains that his school is popular because of its reputation for political activism. It was here at Morris Isaacson, in 1976, that student leaders like Tsietsi Mashinini and Khotso first organised protests against the government. Colgate also gives the who's who in his school today. There are a lot of "interesting characters", like Teaspoon, the school gossip; Stimela Sasezola, the school trendsetter, whose love for trains earned him the nickname "Express to Soweto", and their teacher, Mistress It's a Pity, so named because she uses that phrase at random, for any and all occasions. And then there is one girl, Sarafina, whom the whole school loves for a number of different reasons. The students' school day begins with a musical rendition of The Lord's Prayer. English class follows with a recitation of Wordsworth's poem "Westminster Bridge". When Sarafina asks, "Why do we have to learn about beautiful cities in England which have nothing to do with us?" Mistress responds, "It's a pity!" Next, algebra lessons and then, history class. As Sarafina explains, Mistress teaches them "the history that is not in the books," about the black leaders who have led the war of resistance. Sarafina herself leads the class in a chant: "Nelson Mandela is a hero. We know the government is shit." Time passes. Sarafina has been put in jail for stirring up trouble. At recess in the schoolyard, Stimela, Teaspoon and some others discuss what must be happening to Sarafina. Two months later, when she returns to school, Sarafina shows them the scars from when she was beaten in prison. Yet, as Colgate remarks, Sarafina has come back "with more commitment, stronger than ever," and she insists that classes go on as before. And they do, with a lesson on the oil producing countries. Mistress asks the students to name the countries: Angola, Nigeria, Venezuela, Algeria, Texas, Iraq, Saudi Arabia. When a student mentions Libya, a policeman who has been patrolling the school corridor enters the classroom, waving his rifle in front of the students. "What you say?" he asks. "Libya...that's where Khaddafi stays;' answer the students. "Communist! You teaching Communism?" the policeman spits at the teacher, slapping her to the ground. "How can you teach about Khaddafi in Soweto? Don't you know it's against the law?" he asks. "But she's teaching us about the oil-producing countries and Libya is one of them;' Sarafina argues. The policeman aims