“Dear Winnie is a particularly compelling ritual, in which the zest for life and struggle explodes from the stage. A performance that you absolutely have to experience live because of the raw energy. Especially when - after the applause - the discharge follows in a encore and it's hard to keep it dry.”
“In a joint effort, this very talented ensemble pays hommage to both Mama Winnie and their African origins through text, song, dance and rap. All of this in Zulu, English, Flemish and Dutch.”
“This is not a Shakespeare adaptation in which the actors have studied their lines by heart: this is an exorcism, a personal reckoning with prejudice and discrimination.”
Director Junior Mthombeni, long had the idea of creating a performance around Winnie Mandela. The performance doesn’t only relate to this particular woman who, despite humiliation, abuse and exile, continued her resistance against the apartheid regime with untiring vigour – it also wants to emphasise what we today can learn from her characteristic fighting spirit.
This time we look not through white but coloured lenses. Mthombeni, Fikry El Azzouzi and Cesar Janssens, together the trio Jr.c.E.sA.r, set out in search for answers together with nine actresses, singers and performers from the African diaspora. When do you rebel? When do you sacrifice your personality to the greater narrative? Together they turn the white, male, Eurocentric canon on its head. They denounce the lack of representation and criticise the official version of the story.
Winnie is not a blameless woman. She is a black woman who lived in a world of white supremist men. Despite her setbacks and mistakes, she never gave up. And that’s why she is an example for so many people, both black and white. Until today, she lends people the power to fight for more equality. This performance does not want to be a history lesson – it wants to share the power.