Writer: Dr Sindiwe Magona
Reviewer: Stephanie Rowe
The Public Reviews Rating:
It’s August 1993, just a few months before the end of Apartheid in South Africa with the celebrated Democratic Elections. A mother is going about her everyday routine; trying to wake the kids, for school, trying to make what little food they have stretch between the three of them and get herself ready for work. She like many others in the Geoguletu township, work for a white family. She explains that the she has to work to live, she has to work to feed her children and try to give them an education that will help them get out of the rut she has found herself in. Of course it’s through no fault of her own, she was only a teenager when Apartheid was enforced and her father woke her in the middle of the night to move her and the family she loved so much. With the move came the hardship that apartheid inflicted on the many black South Africans, poor housing, poor sanitation, poor wages, everything a human being should be able to take for granted.
The set is a simple room with a bed roll, a few boxes, a table, a chair and a single gas ring on which to cook. In the background is a screen which plays various film clips, photographs and media stories relating to the time. The few props that were there lent themselves to achieve a bus, a car even another home.
Mandisa played by the very talented Thembi Mtshali-Jones puts in the emotion needed to bring this story to life, to help you understand the feelings that were running through the townships at that time and the feelings of a mother who was trying to keep everything together.
Mother to Mother is based on the true story and murder of Amy Biehl an American exchange student, who found herself in the township, while doing what she always did, a good turn for her friends. Mandisa’s story is in effect a message to the murdered girl’s mother. It is poignant, distressing and sensitive, but it was Mandisa’s song at the end of the show that moved me to tears. A superb production that everyone with a heart should see. At just over an hour long it should be taken to every high school, what a better way to make them understand the truth behind this awful time in our world’s history.