Queens of Wands

The Mahotella Queens re-examine South African social traditions

"This vigorous Mbquanga summons up the climate of insecurity that currently reigns in the great cities of Southern Africa..."

"This a cappella song is a call for unity and reconciliation in the new South Africa..."

"This wonderful a cappella in the great Mbube tradition... speaks to the women of Africa and encourages them to not give up."

Up from apartheid: The Mahotella Queens (from left) Nobesuthu Mbadu, Hilda Tloubatla, Mildred Mangxola
Up from apartheid: The Mahotella Queens (from left) Nobesuthu Mbadu, Hilda Tloubatla, Mildred Mangxola


Takes place at 6 p.m. Thursday, October 16. The event is free and open to the public, but seating is limited. Call 954-625-2810.
African-American Research Library and Cultural Center, 2650 Sistrunk Blvd., Fort Lauderdale

As a black woman raised in South Africa during apartheid, Tloubatla fears neither sexism nor racism on the group's current American tour but confronts a new and universal prejudice: "For the people who saw this group during the olden days when the guys were still alive, the group is still the same with young boys behind us with their guitars. It's like we are 20 years old," says Tloubatla from her hotel room. "It's only the beginning."

The music of the Mahotella Queens is not a cultural artifact for Americans to appreciate from the remoteness of their theater seats. Something can be gained from the optimism of South Africans and their art. "Whenever there is something like war or something that is really disturbing people, you don't have to take it into consideration," Tloubatla offers. "Even now in South Africa, there is a lot of AIDS and drugs... things that never used to be there. We pretend like life is still the same, because, if you have to sit down and think about it all the time, you won't be able to go along with life. This is how we managed to live through apartheid. This is how we are still managing to live."

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