Share this article

Popular actress Lerato Mvelase joins the cast of 'The Colour Purple'

The Color Purple’s South African producers Joburg Theatre and Bernard Jay are delighted to announce the casting of Lerato Mvelase as Shug Avery, the popular bluesy singer whom we meet in the musical ‘at death’s door’.
Shug Avery is comfortable in her sexuality; dynamic, powerful and irresistible, but has a frailty like a wounded animal. Her vulnerability is shocking.
The role was played on Broadway in 2015 by Jennifer Hudson (Oscar winner for Dreamgirls the movie) and later by Jennifer Holliday (Tony Award winner for Dreamgirls on stage in New York).

Lerato Mvelase recently enjoyed a personal triumph in the role of Petal in King Kong the musical in Cape Town and Joburg. She is a South African actress and television presenter best known for her role as Katlego in SABC’s Home Affairs from 2005 to 2009. Lerato also starred as Princess in the TV sitcom Home Sweet Home in 2011.

Lerato was born in Soweto and received her degree in drama at Wits University in 2002. She is the sister of rapper and television presenter ProVerb. She has appeared in numerous theatre productions, including A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1995, directed by Clare Stopford), The Journey (2003, directed by Duma ka-Ndlovu), Love of a Woman, My Spirit Lives and Crepuscule.

In 2014, Lerato starred as Dipuo Nuru in the SABC thriller series Thola and in 2016 she had a recurring role as Lt Samkelo Mkhize on the Mzansi Magic soapie isiBaya. Lerato is also well known to television viewers from her presenting roles on Moribo and Imvelo.

Lerato Mvelase replaces the previously announced Molebtasi Lekgetha as Shug Avery, who had to withdraw from the cast for health reasons.

The Color Purple the musical in South Africa is directed by Janice Honeyman. The all South African cast also features Didintle Khunou as Celie and Aubrey Poo as Mister.

The Color Purple will have preview performances in The Mandela at Joburg Theatre from January 31st 2018, with its official opening night on Sunday February 4th and running until Sunday March 4th 2018. Tickets from R240 are on sale: telephone 0861 670 670, go online at or book in person at the Joburg Theatre box office. Theatre patrons can also book online and pay at selected Pick N Pay stores.

For more information and interviews with the cast, please contact
Chris Avant Smith 
082 600 5855 /
Bronwen Hirshowitz
082 704 8843 /