IndyFringe: Journey from Johannesburg

By Wendy Carson

For a white child growing up in South Africa, the word Apartheid was never spoken about. Even so, it was ever present. While the privilege of his race afforded him much that others lacked, Toby Tobias still felt a deep love and connection to his homeland and only begrudgingly left it rather than serve the mandatory two-year term in the army enforcing its hateful policies.

Being the son of a Polish Jew, Tobias migrated to Jerusalem. During his time there, his life was again, idyllic. Even though tensions were rising among the Muslims and Jews, it was never evident in the daily life most of the country. He fell in love with the country as well as his future wife and felt he had found his homeland paradise. However, the Arab uprising of 1987 changed the country forever and he was forced to once again leave the land he loved, and this time move to America.

His life here has been challenging on many levels, but still satisfying. He still struggles to promote racial harmony and coherence as a society in order that we may all live together in peace.

His story is punctuated by hauntingly beautiful songs he has written to help convey his message. These pieces not only echo the political messages of singers such as Sting, Bob Dylan and Paul Simon, his voice sounds so much like them you will feel that you are actually listening the them perform.

So, if “Graceland” is among your favorite albums, do not miss this poignant tribute to love, understanding, and true harmony amongst all peoples.

Also, CDs of his music will be available for sale after the show.

Performances are 7:30 p.m. Friday and Sunday, Aug. 26 and 28, in the Phoenix Theatre underground stage. Info and tickets at indyfringefestival.com.

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