People arriving to see this show set in a South Africa township got a tiny taste of what apartheid was like when the audience were strictly segregated. The clever device helped the audience remember what it’s easy to forget, so many years after Nelson Mandela’s long walk to freedom.
The play, by contrast, starts with a comic turn from Styles (Tonderai Munyevu), a smilingly optimistic photographic studio owner. In telling his tales of the people whose photographs he has taken, the audience gets a subtle glimpse of the sheer resilience of black South Africans and how they still pursued their dreams in the middle of grinding poverty and terrible oppression.
One of Styles’ customers is Sizwe Banzi (Sibusiso Mamba) and his story, told at length to form the rest of the play, fully brings out the vile nature of apartheid.
Sizwe is a man from the country, desperately seeking work to feed his family and coming up against the pass laws, which ruled where black people could and could not go. Siszwe has a stark choice to make if he is to survive.
Fantastic performances from both actors and a gripping evening from start to finish, beautifully directed by Matthew Xia.