“…if I had been in government I would make theatre the centre point that puts the country out there at the top…”
Welcome Msomi co-founded Sasani Television Studios in 1996 and served as its first CEO, he holds the chair of numerous companies and is the director of another five. Beside all of this, what fills his off-hours is creating theatre, which encompasses writing, composing the music, directing, choreographing dance and movement.
Such has been his way of life since a boy in Durban when he gathered his friends around and coaxed them into performing in his first boyhood scribblings. They even toured, through neighborhoods, villages and to church halls to make a few pennies. Later his more mature writing observed the stresses of the township folk. He wrote these observations into plays and the people loved them. They recognised their own desperate predicament. One such, Qondeni, caught the attention of Professor Elizabeth Sneddon, head of drama at the University of Natal. She saw his potential and suggested he direct Macbeth using black actors. “I didn’t want to do it. I hated the idea!” he exclaims. And yet he did it and it became uMabatha. The world loved it. It toured extensively, ran its course and finally it was put to rest.
When Nelson Mandela was released from prison Welcome had a chance encounter with him in America. Mandela asked him to stage it again. No! no! he thought, it is done…. But how do you disappoint Madiba? Four thousand actors were auditioned and a sixty-person company formed. Madiba had his wish and London and seventeen cities across America saw it too.
Welcome is a raconteur, a delightful story teller; a life lived full of music and dance and stories. uMabatha accounts for great swaths of his life and yet he tells of so much more with an infectious laugh and an air of majesty.
Welcome with Morgan
Welcome with Madiba
Welcome in Umabatha