The play, Rondomskrik,is a hard hitting reminder that we are our children's guardians

The actresses in Rondomskrik . Shaleen Surtie-Richards, Chrystal Donna Richards and Lee Ann van Rooi.
If you want to enjoy a good Afrikaans play and reflect on the state of our poor communities, the Rondomskrik at The Baxter theatre is the answer.

The play, #Rondomskrik, is an accurate portrayal of the violence, degradation and brokenness of many poor communities. The storyline is inspired by the brutal murder of 17 year old Anene Booysen in a rural town, Bredasdorp. This play delves deeply into the complex web of cruelty and the exploitation of our vulnerable youth by their own parents, family members and community members.

 

We see the resilience of the children, Antjie Fortuin (Crystal-Donna Roberts) and her brother (Richard September) as they learn how to cope with abuse and neglect by the adults who are supposed to be their nurturers and protectors. They are removed from their abusive mother (Lee-Ann van Rooi) who is eventually imprisoned for murdering one of her own children. When they are placed in foster care with a relative, they are treated as a source of income because of the social grant. More exploitation for children who are innocent victims.

 

Fortunately, for Antjie Fortuin, her teacher, Jasmien Jacobs (Shaleen Surtie-Richards)cares deeply for her and wants her to find her place in the sun. Antjie is able to attend school and is given an opportunity to be in the school choir so that she could follow her passion for singing. Although Jasmien Jacobs is her main "uitkyk auntie" as well as her her cheerleader, the violence and destruction of life continues around Antjie until that fateful Friday when she is brutally raped and murdered.

 

The effect of Shaleen Surtie-Richards's portrayal of the soul-wrenching grief and guilt the teacher experienced after this horrific event, is raw emotion. I could feel and see the raging emotions because Shaleen could have been any one of the teachers teaching in a Cape Flats school that I serve. These are real stories I hear from school staff many a day.

 

The play depicts a slice of life in rural areas and in poor townships. There was nothing melodramatic about the events or acts. And this is what jolts you when you see the naked reality unfold before your eyes. While the tears trickled down my cheeks, the male patron on my left, had great difficulty containing his composure.

 

The acting by the whole cast was spectacular. The stage set of a mountain of white paper jets and scattered ones spoke volumes. The jets symbolise our vulnerable, innocent youth who need a launcher and a pilot to ensure that they take the leap and then make sure they are still on their flight to success.

 

These paper jets need to be shot into the air repeatedly else they will come crashing to the ground. Or could the huge mound also represent a mass grave site?

So many questions... So many complexities...

The power of the play is that it is so heavily nuanced yet there is the simplicity or clarity of the message: we need "uitkyk aunties" in all our spaces to help our children soar.

 

Kudus to the actors, the writer, Rachelle Greeff, the producer and director, Hennie van Greunen) of Rondomskrik.

 

 

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