Primarily inspired by recent real life events in Coligny (The death of Matlhomola Moshweu), the play follows the aftermath of the death of a young man on a maize farm at the hands of a farmer’s son and his friends. The play zooms in on a mother’s quest for justice in a community that has rendered her and those like her invisible. Faced with the impossibility of being heard when one is essentially a ghost, the boy’s mother must reach into parts of herself she has been taught to silence and fear. She must sink deep into herself in order to be a possessed ghost can make her son’s blood speak, shout and scream. She must haunt, hound and harangue her son’s killers into seeing her in her invisibility while rattling the community into seeing her and joining her or rendering her insane and worth dismissing.
It explores themes such as social justice, drug addiction, family, religiosity, culture, reconciliation and freedom through the lens of small farming towns in a post-1994 South African society.
The play was written as part of a project by the Literarisches Colloquium of Berlin, whose focus and rallying theme was invisibility. 4 playwrights from Mexico, South Africa, Palestine, and Turkey were invited to explore invisibility as it speaks to any aspect of society they are from, to look into and give voice to those in their societies that have been rendered mute and invisible by forces more powerful or influential than themselves.
This is what the producer of the show Vice Motshabi had to say: “My primary motivation for making this work was simply to say something about what was then a continuing case, as a way of resisting and potentially inspiring others to resist. Much that is harmful and potentially detrimental to a people is accepted in silence and the only form of resistance the majority allows itself is quiet disgruntled whispers behind drawn curtains. I wanted to just say it and put it out there and make it clear that I stood with the voiceless and would try in my small way to give them a voice. It began as a dedication to Matlhomola Moshweu’s parents, particularly his mother and then as I was writing I realised I was also writing for and about my mother and brother whose story is contained in Matlhomola’s story”.
The play was first performed in 2021 at the Soweto Theatre and has since performed in other venues (mentioned elsewhere) around the country. Our idea of the target audience has shifted significantly with each audience. The play has been embraced and enjoyed by children of 10 to 14, by adults of varying races and ages in townships and cities alike. It is a South African story, engaging with questions our reality is always calling us to look into. While the subject is serious, the performance is intended to entertain and engage and so has many a light moment and humour.
The play involves a cast with a colourful array of experiences in the South African theatre and music landscape. Sydney Mavundla’s compositions, supported by Volley Nchabeleng’s percussive interventions make up the soundscape that carries and elevates the performance as the actors, Tshireletso Nkoane, Dambuza Nqumashe, Thapelo Mohapi, Xolile Gama and Barileng Thato Malebye, interchangeably weave a flaming web of story around the audience.
The Red on the Rainbow is set to premiere:
Date: 13-14 October
Venue : Andre Huguenet Theatre
Time : 18h00
Tickets are now available at Webtickets and PACOFS’ booking office.