Tuesday, October 08, 2013

A Woman In Waiting

I often reflect on how many amazing people I have met, and have to pinch myself to make sure that it has all been real. For whatever reason, I have managed to meet many of the people I grew up admiring. Some have been disappointing, some have matched my expectations and a handful have exceeded them.

One of the absolutely phenomenal people I have met is the internationally-acclaimed Thembi Mtshali-Jones. She is a living legend as far as the dramatic arts are concerned. At the age of 64 she continues to work on her craft, dabbling in an array of theatre productions, television shows and films.

I first met her when I worked for her production company, Spirit Sister - writing for the inspirational show The Power Within. I was immediately blown away by her gentle presence and surprised by her grace and humility. She is known throughout the industry for being warm, insightful, professional and always making time to mentor. She has made time for many young people - including little old me.

Last night I watched her perform her one-woman play A Woman In Waiting at the Baxter Theatre in Cape Town. Based on her life story, it is a phenomenal reminder of how the past must not be forgotten as we strive for a better future. She traces her life story; from her beginnings as the child of migrant workers in the rural areas, to her struggles as a young mother working as domestic worker in the Apartheid era.

In just 70 minutes she manages to convey her story, and the South African story, with energy and heart, inspiring laughter and tears in abundance. I was truly blown away by the performance, and felt so blessed to listen to the defining moments of her life. Director Yael Faber helped her weave it together brilliantly through monologue and song.

This production deserves all the international awards and acclaim it has achieved over the last 15 years. If you have the means, do yourself a favour and go and see this extraordinary play. It runs until 12 October at The Baxter Theatre.