To toast Thandi Klaasen’s 86th birthday, a special never-seen-before film about the lives of Sophiatown’s greatest stars will be screened.

The film features the finest Sof’town (as Sophiatown was called) skylarks Sophie Mgcina, Dolly Rathebe, both deceased, Abigail Kubheka and Klaasen. With exclusive footage, the film will be shown at The Huddleston Centre in Sophiatown on April 1.

It will shed more light into life in Sophiatown, a period from apartheid South Africa that has been romanticised. The racially integrated suburb was demolished in the 1960s to make way for a whites only area called Triomf. The name Sophiatown was only recently restored.

Sophiatown has been the subject of a few documentaries and TV productions. The Road, the Mzansi Magic telenovela explored the life of gangsters and showbiz personalities of the time.

Lorraine, Thandi’s daughter who lives in Canada, said she wanted to use her mother’s birthday to pay tribute to her and celebrate her colourful career that spans over half a century. She said the film is about what it was like as a woman growing up in Sophiatown. Thandi’s face was permanently scarred by a mix of thinners and petrol in a criminal attack in Sophiatown.

Lorraine said she wanted to honour her mother while she was still alive, adding that she found it strange that South Africa celebrated its stars when they are dead.

« I want my mother to be there and enjoy this moment with her friends and family. »

The festivities will move to the Thokoza Auditorium on April 2 where the film will be screened. Mother and daughter will also have a collaborative performance to cap the celebrations. Among the artists set to entertain is « people’s poet » Mzwakhe Mbuli.

« There will be special performances by different musicians. We want this day to be special. I will also perform with the Bheki Khoza band. »

Thandi suffered a mild stroke over a year ago and developed a speech impediment. However, Lorraine said her mother sounded better when singing than when she speaks. She was honoured with an Imbokodo Award last year for her contribution to music and the arts.

Sowetan

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