Gogo and Big Sister is an inter-generational dialogue which weaves the musical journey of Gogo (Granny) as portrayed through three generations of singers, who are at different stages of their musical careers. Growing up in apartheid South Africa and listening to American music, Gogo’s musical career is encouraged by legends such as Nina Simone and Diana Ross… However South Africa’s musical landscape proves to be difficult for a woman of color as discrimination is rife and she is confronted by constant marginalization as a performer. Broadening her horizons Gogo leaves South Africa only to find that the realities and challenges of the industry abroad are just as difficult, and once again her identity comes to the fore. It is not until she performs and tours with Miriam Makeba that Gogo realizes the sacrifices and hardships that South African musicians face in exile, as well as those who have remained behind. In the process she discovers that her true inspiration comes from the music of a number of legendary South African women. This realization begins to reshape her musical career and reaffirms her identity as a proud South African woman in song. The ensuing narrative celebrates the contribution of, and explores some of the challenges faced by female singers within the music industry in South Africa.
Written by: Thembi Mtshali Jones and workshopped with cast. Directed by Princess Mhlongo. Music arranged by Ezbie Moilwa. Produced by Heather Blumenthal
THEMBI MTSHALI JONES