Two main roads and a big river mark the boundaries to a little girl’s universe. Diepkloof: a home, a hideaway, a hole, a place of hope. Actress Matshedisho Mokoteli takes us on a painful, sad but innocent journey through the life of a young girl who, though only 14 years old, has faced more than her fair share of change and hardship. Through an indigenous game, masikitla, we are led to see how she has come to an understanding of the many harsh lessons life has thrown at her. This girl is a flower, and “you can’t bury a seed”, as one of the characters says. This young woman will keep on growing and the world will see her shine.
Nineteen year old Matshedisho Mokoteli is as young, pure and outwardly beautiful as the character she portrays, and is just as unstoppable a force. Before joining Dala Arts project in 2014 as a dancer Mokoteli had never performed or even considered life as an actress. Fruit is her first ever play, and earlier this year she received Most Promising Actress award at the Zabalaza Theatre Festival.
I am always overwhelmed by the magic of theatre. Luyanda Somkhene and Solomon Mashiane have created a simple, well structured, softly lit setting in which the world of Fruit takes place. With the writing and direction of Paul Noko, we were transported to an empty land, filled with broken people where nothing but hope survives.
In the intimate, somewhat hidden away and snug Masihambe theatre at the Baxter, the faces who made up the audience revealed a group of men and women ranging in age and hue and culture. There was a quiet energy, a sense of stillness. We were like children in bed, half dreaming already but unwilling for the story to end, minds tangled but happy.
This piece of South African theatre is the kind of theatre I want my children to see. This is the kind of theatre of which we can be truly proud. Fruit runs until 29 August. Do not let this opportunity slip through your fingers.
Fruit runs 12 to 29 August 2015 at the Baxter’s Masihambe Theatre, Cape Town.