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Topic Summary

Posted by: Iain Fisher
« on: July 10, 2018, 06:59:02 PM »

Another chance to see Nongogo at the Market Theatre to 15 July 2018.

"And what Fugard has always been able to do so well, evident in his play Boesman and Lena, and the Academy Award-winning movie Tsotsi, adapted from his novel of the same title, is to capture the monotony of a people trapped in both space and time... In a body of work spanning over 60 years, Fugard has made it his life work to interrogate the psychological effects of apartheid in the life of black people in the townships. And how breaking the unjust laws of apartheid to survive has created an ambivalent relationship with the justice system entirely".

The quote is by Nkateko Mabasa from the Daily Maverick, 9 Jul 2018.  The link is here
Posted by: Iain Fisher
« on: August 14, 2008, 03:32:58 PM »

A rare perfromance of Fugard's early Nongogo was shown at the Barney Simon Theatre, the Market Theatre complex, South Africa.

Ndaba Dlamini writes (from 7 April 2006):
The play, about the complexities of black urban life,. Written by Athol Fugard during his early years with Port Elizabeth's Serpent Players, Nongogo revolves around life in a township front-room shebeen, operated by an enigmatic woman known as "Queenie".
Queenie's past is shrouded in a dark cloud, which is eventually dispersed by a young travelling salesman, Johnny, who inadvertently storms into her life with a suitcase full of table clothes. Queenie is swept off her feet by the earnest young man, and she immediately decides to change her home decor– and her life– to please him.

Playing out alongside the budding romance, are the harsh realities of township life, revealed in the half-witted Blackie; Queenie's side-kick, Sam; and the fertile Patrick. Blackie, homeless and socially disoriented, has taken a vow to "protect" Queenie. He brings stolen gifts to please her.
Disruptive and morally decadent, Sam, Queenie's "fixer" and former pimp, exerts a vicious presence in her life. He tries to stifle her growing affections for Johnny, which Queenie has tried to bury. Meanwhile Patrick spends his time trying to find a name for his umpteenth unborn child. In an effort to escape the realities of his growing family responsibilities, he drowns himself in alcohol.
Although it is set in the 1950s, Nongogo has much to say about the present realities of urban South Africa– thwarted aspirations, self-destructiveness and the ticking time bomb of early sexual abuse. And despite the moral poverty of some of the characters, the play is a warm portrayal of township life, its people and their idiosyncrasies and weaknesses.
Matshikiza {the director} says Nongogo and other plays by Fugard testify to "a young, white-in-a-black-landscape poet's flawed, awed exploration of the world that we are all fatally, imperfectly coming to terms with now".

"Revisiting Nongogo here, in the new, unresolved South Africa of scattered, multi-patterned, over-patented, shattered, flattened dreams is like revisiting a love of the past."

The article by Ndaba Dlamini comes from the City of Johannesburg website (  You can read the full article here