Theatrical review: Born Around Here.

Lorraine Kinnear

There isn’t a description that can match up to the entrance of the play actors of this magnificent play. Maybe we could put a quote in the place of the way in which the stage was set when the audience stepped into set. “Memory is the scribe of the soul.” Aristotle put it just right with that saying. The actors were in a haze of repetition of their memory, it was a little stage at first because they all spoke at the same time and it had firstly begun to sound offish and a little like gibberish. However the more you listened to them the more it shed light as to the plot of the play. I was amused by it to be honest, I thought it theatrical genius.

Born around here is a story told by five individuals representing the lives of Batswana victimized by the apartheid regimes of South Africa from the 60s through to the early 90s. I imagine the scriptwriters were inspired by the way in which in history when the struggle of the South African natives against the oppression by white minorities, no account is ever made of the people who made great sacrifices for events leading up to the resolution of the entire thing and also people who opened that hands warmly accommodating refugees from South Africa.

Being a political piece one ought to thing that it be straight forward thorough and without emotion, however, the play highlight some touching events that set a lot of lumps in the throats. Leading the story was an old man who lost his child, Raa-Sheila, and could not bear this loss. He being a writer laid down all the important facts that he thought people ought to remember about the struggle, all that was important to him was that this information gets relayed to someone that might care to continue telling this story. This man through his daughter connected indirectly to a young man, Zakes, a freedom fighter who was part of the team outside of South Africa recruiting help from outside to aid in the struggle. Also he had become close with a woman who could easily also pass as his care-taker who also lost a child in the bombings in Gaborone that were set because of suspicion that the place was a hide-out for rebels according to the Apartheid regime.

The play in the overall highlights some historical facts that I am pretty sure only a small population of the world know about, and not only that but the play actually invokes emotion in the listener which made it feel like we were reliving those events. The dramatization was full with choral and drums. It made the massage that they wanted to tell even louder, playing on the audience’s emotion with songs that every Motswana knows and changing the lyrics to suit the script. I remember almost crying when the woman who had lost her child broke out in song glazed in deep hurt, “Sananapo, mpiletseng Sananapo. Ba mmolaile, ba mpha masapo bare ke a boloke.” Which loosely translates, they have killed my child and gave me bones to bury them. This made the loss of a child from a mother such a graphical thing. The actor really got into character and sang cried. It was almost the saddest thing I have ever seen.

From what I understand the play has been played in several other places besides Botswana, and I was happy to learn this because I found it to be something especially important to be told and retold and retold. I commend the playwright, I absolutely believe that their mind is lit with such genius and the way in which they worked with the actors to make the play so emotional and educational and entertaining. Also because this is history that a lot of us don’t know especially as you we ought to them journalize it and make it part of the education system, either plainly in theater or as a written work that people can find in a library