Ipi Ntombi is a joyous, homegrown dance and music celebration of black South African culture. First performed in 1974, the production, with a phenomenally talented and energetic cast of 50, has delighted audiences all over the world. Ipi Ntombi might well be regarded as a national opera of South Africa.
The story is so primal that it seems to have sprung directly from South African soil. It begins in a tiny village with thundering ceremonial dances in colorful tribal costumes. A tender love story emerges between a village girl and young man, who has gone away to work in the mines. As her sweetheart travels from the countryside to the city, tribal ceremonies morph into break dancing, jubilant South African rock & roll, and gospel singing.
The youth, torn between his village roots and urban temptations, personifies the essential African conflict between the ancient and modern worlds.