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Fakir Hassen in Cape Town
For the first time in South Africa, local blind and deaf artistes shared a platform with visiting performers from India.
Indian film playback singer Mohammed Aziz is currently touring South Africa for a series of shows in tribute to his late idol, the legendary Mohammed Rafi.
One of these shows, held in Durban, has benefited a charitable institute catering to the needs of the blind and deaf in the community.
The Southern Light Orchestra, comprising members of the Natal Blind and Deaf Society, under the guidance of veteran South African Indian singer Amina Aziz, as well as some deaf dancers, and the Yamuna Dance Academy, performed the curtain-raiser at the inaugural show.
The deaf dancers amazed the audience with their reliance on the reverberation of sound from the floor for their rhythm.
Apart from songs immortalised by Rafi, Aziz sang some of his own songs, many of which he has done for films.
Accompanying him were Srikant, who sings in the style of the late Mukesh, and Mazhar, who also does Rafi songs.
The show was organised by Chakku Bhuptani, who has previously brought a number of successful shows to South Africa with his group, the Bombay Beats Orchestra. The dances in the show were performed by Asha Patel.
"Rafi passed away on August 31, 21 years go, and we felt that this was an appropriate time to host a show in his honour," said H B Singh, deputy vice-president for fundraising at the Natal Blind and Deaf Society, which hosted the inaugural show at the Village Park in Durban.
The show also played to a full house in Cape Town. On August 24 and 25, the show will take place at the popular Caesar's Resort near Johannesburg, giving South African Indians in all major cities in the country an opportunity to see it.
"Unlike some other shows with overseas artistes, ticket prices have been kept low to allow access to everybody," Singh said.
Funds raised from the show will go towards reviving the cane furniture workshop of the society, which was once a thriving business, but has gone into decline following cheap imports of cane goods from the east.
"The cane furniture provides sheltered employment to blind and deaf persons," Singh added.
Indo-Asian News Service
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