Review Of Drama Queen : The Lebo Mathosa Tribute

August 16, 2012 by  

I had the pleasure of attending the star-studded opening of the Lebo Mathosa musical; “Drama Queen”. A lot of local celebrities pulled through in support of Sello Maake Ka Ncube’s project. I even caught a moment where Thembi, Theo and Junior exchanged greetings in the foyer during the interval, it was very heart-wrenching seeing all the members of Boom Shaka together but with one integral piece of the puzzle missing.

Why Lord oh Why? This still doesn’t make sense.

Going into the show I didn’t know what to expect therefore entered  with an open mind. If you were expecting a play with a storyline and characterization depicting Lebo Mathosa’s life, let me save you the disappointment now and let you know that this was not a play, but more of a Lebo Mathosa Tribute concert with songs linked by narration in between.


The show opens up with six aspiring singers on stage  who are struggling in their careers and then they decide to channel the spirit of Lebo Mathosa in order to get inspiration. So to rest the question of who plays Lebo Mathosa? All six of the actresses play Lebo Mathosa.

Yes ladies and gentleman that is what a huge void Lebo Mathosa has left. They couldn’t find one actress to bring Lebo Mathosa back to life on stage, they had to use SIX performers.

Five of the actresses who include Khanyi Mbau and Idols alumni Sindi Nene get the chance to perform Lebo’s songs throughout the show, while the sixth actress Rami Chuene narrates the story in Lebo’s voice.


This is one of the hardest things I have to write, as I have the outmost love and respect for Ausi Rami as a person and as an actress. But the consensus throughout the audience was that she was the show’s weakest link.

She was supposed to represent the soul of the show, I believe the concept Sello Maake Ka Ncube was going for as a director was for the narrator to be the soul of Lebo Mathosa and the performers to be the embodiment of Lebo Mathosa but Ausi Rami seemed a bit unprepared, she kept fluffing her lines all throughout the show.

Let me just put it this way, every time she fluffed a line my friend whom I was sitting next to kept nudging me on my elbow, by the end of the show I was blue and bruised, and my friend insists I send my medical bill to Rami.


Another thing was that the context of the narrative itself, lacked a little bit of depth. It felt like Sello just took excerpts from Lebo interviews and pieced them together to narrate the show. Yes he told Lebo’s story through her own words, but he didn’t really tap into Lebo’s soul.


Now lets get to the performances; the show opens up with a jaw dropping performance of Lebo’s hit; “Bhenga” performed by Khanyi Mbau herself. Khanyi nailed it, killed it and was everything you would want, except for the real Lebo herself taking the stage.

In terms of dance and movement Miss Mbau got it so right, if you blinked for a second you’d swear it was the real Mathosa on stage.

What I loved about this show was that Sello didn’t just stick to Lebo’s popular songs but he dug deep into Lebo’s discography and had them perform songs which are not so recognizable to non- Lebo fans.

This is the one aspect of that I believe captured Lebo’s spirit.

She was really passionate about her artistry and her versatility, but the general audience often tended to just listen to her commercial/ club/ dance songs and overlook her dabbling in other genres, and in this show you get to hear Lebo as she wanted to be heard. Her club/dance songs, her R&B and Hip Hop songs, her jazzy songs, her Latin influenced songs and her Traditional songs; Lebo as she wanted to be heard!

Overall the show is enjoyable, but it seems a little bit un-organized and un-polished. One would have sworn that we were watching a dress rehearsal instead of an opening.

This is the part where I feel Lebo was looking down and shaking her head disapprovingly.

Lebo Mathosa took pride in her performances, everything was together and in sync from the weaves of her dancers to the last fabric of their costumes. She was very detailed and a perfectionist, I just believe that if you are going to honor such a performer, you must do justice to their integrity and standard of performance.

I’m not sure who Sello spoke to whilst doing his research, but it definitely does not feel like he was liaising with people who lived and worked directly with Lebo. There was just authenticism lacking in some of the moments.

The three elements that save this show are Khanyi Mbau, Sindi Nene and the spirit of Lebo herself. Being in an audience and hearing a live band playing Lebo Mathosa again just makes you feel like she’s in the room and might step on the stage any moment. You can’t help but sing, dance and enjoy the ambience for the nostalgia.

Sindi’s vocals and Khanyi’s movements and stage presence are really a must see! I would like that lady who wrote that open-letter to Khanyi to come and watch this show, just to see how much talent Ms. Mbau really has.

I have mixed feelings on whether or not to recommend this show to anyone. It has some Good moments and then it has some really cringe-worthy moments. One of my highlights was how they depicted Lebo’s death in the show that was really beautifully done but I will not go into details about that scene, I can’t give everything away, go and see the show yourself.

By   Zamani Khethelo


** Show is on at the State Theatre, tickets available on Computicket.

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32 Comments on "Review Of Drama Queen : The Lebo Mathosa Tribute"

  1. Noance on Thu, 16th Aug 2012 12:26 am 

    Love your honesty Zamani! Oooooooh Rami ke error, she talks too much! She must read and learn her lines! I will try my best to go and watch it! I love how Khanyi is finding her own element (except for that colourful toilet paper she calls a book). I can believe she’s doing a great job! I had the pleasure of meeting Lebo and everything Zamani said about her passion and professionalism is so true! she had this commanding spirit that made you want to pay attention but she was also so fragile at the same time! Anyway I hope they will get better as time goes on and Rami will stop dragging the show. She was something special, lala ngo xolo sisi!

  2. Noance on Thu, 16th Aug 2012 12:45 am 

    Love how Sindi is still rocking her blonde wig aka weave! She’s like I will rock it, until they all start seeing how it suits me! You go girlista! We see it!

    Sello must do his research bathong! Busy giving half baked productions la. Hope the next penguin who attempts to potray sis Lebo’s story will do it right! She deserves to be honoured correctly n tastefully!

  3. NQOBILENNN on Thu, 16th Aug 2012 12:53 am 

    Kwenzenjani ukhuluma ngabantu, kuyoze kube nini na, indaba zabantu wanzenza ezakho, ezakho zikhulunywa ubani na? *Deep sigh*

  4. MissT@T on Thu, 16th Aug 2012 5:08 am 

    I’m sooooo going to state theatre to watch!

  5. sparrow on Thu, 16th Aug 2012 5:58 am 

    Well written zamani.i so enjoyed reading this piece.i have always doubted khanyi’s ability on stage.i also love aus rami shem.she has beautiful voice.i am so looking forward to see it.hope the whole project becomes a success.the love i had for lebo is priceless.

  6. sparrow on Thu, 16th Aug 2012 6:09 am 

    @noance-you are one of a kind hle.i had to kwaak so vroeg nogal.That sindi girl is talented.only if she can lose the attitude.she likes her blonde weave shem.

  7. sxylin on Thu, 16th Aug 2012 6:34 am 

    Zamani dear Khanyi’s talent and her gold digging are two different things! The open letter stays because the points made were valid; talent or no talent, she does not respect herself; stop confusing two different. Things!Yes our classless ex gold diggging loosefield has talent Good for her!

  8. Ntombi Yomzulu on Thu, 16th Aug 2012 8:11 am 

    O_0 at this —–> I love how Khanyi is finding her own element (except for that colourful toilet paper she calls a book).

  9. fabulicious on Thu, 16th Aug 2012 8:16 am 

    I saw the show ausi Rami was flummbling shem.
    Everytime she was about to come on stage (I was sitting right in the 2nd row) I found myself saying a lil prayer for her and God was just not listening!
    It was horrid!

    My 2 moments for the night!
    @Sindi Nene’s performance on Sizozala kanjani- She killed it!
    @Siziwe(thunder thighs) when she perfomed that mama song…tears just rolled down nje, that gal is sooo vocally gifted she should be out there!

  10. Gomolemo on Thu, 16th Aug 2012 8:32 am 

    Ill have to make plans to see this show, I loved Lebo, but also just to see Khanyi in action. Yes, i said it, I love Khanyi shem *not hiding*

  11. Thabure on Thu, 16th Aug 2012 8:44 am 

    state theatre is far man…eish ill wait until it comes to the market …

  12. zenzybear on Thu, 16th Aug 2012 9:26 am 

    where’s state theatre? i once watched jika majika n saw khanyi dancing. she can move yena shem jealous down

  13. LadyMillion on Thu, 16th Aug 2012 9:31 am 

    Oh I thought this was Khanyis’..and not all the other 5 honeys. Anywho I’m sure Khanyi killed her performance, she can really dance. Will def go see it. I luuuurved Lebo and all her songs

    bimbaz —–> “Its a brand neww daaaay, the sun is shining bright”

    Happy Thursday boggers!

  14. nana on Thu, 16th Aug 2012 9:32 am 

    Where is the open letter????????

  15. Monei on Thu, 16th Aug 2012 9:39 am 

    sounds interesting.but as Thabure said, state theatre is far, esp for a not-so-sure-you-recommend show.

    @zenzy, it’s in the capital city.

  16. Ms.E on Thu, 16th Aug 2012 9:43 am 

    Can anyone please copy and paste that open letter here,cos that link doesnt wanna open,thanks!

  17. bongi on Thu, 16th Aug 2012 10:03 am 

    google the open letter..its all over the internet now..even twitter was sharing the link.

  18. Vejinity on Thu, 16th Aug 2012 10:17 am 

    Nice review Zamani, I was really sceptical before I read it because I always find that when a stan does a review it is never balanced as they are still hung up on the star themselves. But I can safely say this review is balanced…so nice job.

    @Sxylin, reading your comment about the open letter I couldn’t help but cringe. I don’t know if we read the same letter or maybe understood it differently, but that lady was basically saying Khanyi Mbau has no talent. Yes, she might be right in other parts, but that letter was not balanced and it screamed ‘I’m a woman scorned because Khanyi stood me up’. Anyways just wanted to clarify that.

    P.S. Can I also get that sexual book everyone is on about? My email addy is

  19. WTeeZ on Thu, 16th Aug 2012 10:30 am 

    i agree with sxyling about Zamani confusing the 2 issues.

    well written article tho, very honest .

  20. LadyMillion on Thu, 16th Aug 2012 10:42 am 

    That woman is just bitter and angry! she wasted all her time digging stuff abt Khanyi (she claims she didnt know her angithi,mfcim. she clearly needs to get a life shame

  21. LadyMillion on Thu, 16th Aug 2012 10:44 am 

    That letter was just sooo unnecessary..

  22. sxylin on Thu, 16th Aug 2012 10:46 am 

    is this true though! June 2011 Nominated for the post of ANCYL national treasurer. <—- Khanyi Mbau ANCYL national treasurer *claps once*

  23. zenzybear on Thu, 16th Aug 2012 10:48 am 

    lmao sxylin i doubt yazi, i doubt its true

  24. Vesa on Thu, 16th Aug 2012 10:49 am 

    Why is Ayanda Nhlangothi not mentioned and the other two ladies playing Khanyi? Ayanda is an Idols season 1 Alumni le ene

  25. sk1 on Thu, 16th Aug 2012 1:26 pm 

    who eva wrote that open letter >>>> Ungenaphi yena , letter sounded like a personal attack such bitterness oho! ….*Yawns*

    Anyway nice article Zamani i enjoyed the review

  26. shybear on Thu, 16th Aug 2012 1:33 pm 

    It might be true, i think khanyi is a member of ANC ive seen her several tyms in parliament while stil wrking there, Arthur n Motsepe 2(r anc),
    one day she might b our minister

  27. Maka-Khanya on Thu, 16th Aug 2012 4:44 pm 

    Plz guys nam ngicela anyone to send me the sexual book ngyacela bandla,i dont want to b left out email is

    Thank u in advance

  28. Botshelo on Mon, 20th Aug 2012 12:59 pm 

    I had bought 5 x 100 tickets for saturday and they last cancelled it ka di minutes

  29. Dladla on Wed, 22nd Aug 2012 10:08 am 

    Thank you so much for this, Zamani.

    As for uKhanyi, I have always believed that she is a very good perfomer.

    I will always be a big fan.

  30. Sisbliss on Thu, 23rd Aug 2012 12:58 pm 

    I must say this is a fair review! nice one Zamani! am thinking bout going to see this play for the ratings and so that I can form my own opinion. We need to see our stories and Lebo was the reason I lied to my parents about what “Electric Workshop” was all about when I was in high school :)

    I’m wondering? If Khanyi is such a fake/wannabe as described in that “letter” then why the heck did that woman want to meet her/interview her? double standards?

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