Between The Pillar & The Post

A Multilingual Anthology of Contemporary South African Monologues & Scenes

To be taken from one place to another in rapid succession. Displaced again. And again. And again. What is lost in – to borrow from Bavino Bachana – ‘the spaces between?’ Does the reaper keep a tally of the multitude of bodies that line the pathway paved with good intentions? Does a mother’s cry become the reaper’s lullaby in this (seemingly) post-apocalyptic version of reality? And who knows how many tongues have been severed in the quest to speak truth to power in languages dying quicker than a primus stove in the flash floods in Thembisa? Twenty-five years… of what?

The scenes contained in this urgent compilation suggest that we are bordering on discovering new things and rediscovering old things about ourselves that we had forgotten. The writers herein provide a timely reminder of how far we’ve come, with many questioning whether we’ve moved at all, and the only thing that is certain is that the perspectives are varied. From the riverside to the student flats of Braam; each piece holds a mirror up to a different segment of our lived experience(s). This dispensation of new and familiar names manages to weave, almost magically, alternate realities to give us bitter medicine that we have long refused to take. These writers walk the valley of death’s shadow with a pen for a scythe, slaying, sometimes quite successfully, the fear that keeps us from looking at ourselves.

Some Excerpts:

Tenbush by Mncedisi Shabangu

Martha situkulwane sami ungesabi. Ngite ngesihle. Laba lengihamba nabo bangakwesabisa ngobe abasiwo emadimoni kodvwa bakini labanganakutfula ngale kubokhokhomkhulu. Lendzaba idze kabi ifana nemlomo wadvoye lonwebeka kwelicilongo lebaphorofethi. Kunentfo longayati wena ngemndeni wakho nentalo yakini. Loku lengitakutjela kona namuhla kutayichaza kahle yonke lenkinga, kuchacheke lelifindvo lesimoyeni wakho.

Coming For You by Olivia Fischer

When I went out that night I wanted to get fucked, figuratively and literally. I wanted to get fucked up, down, left, right, against the wall, by the tequila shot or the bottle I wasn't very picky at the time.

And so, I end up at this bar in town and I'm standing there holding a Marlboro gold and sipping on my regular double vodka and lime, when I see you. And I know you're a fuck boy.

My Father’s Dr Jerry Mofokeng wa Makhetha

Nka ithoka hona joale ua ba ua makala! Aku ntjoetse hee Ntate, bothata ba hao ke eng? Joale haele mona Mme oa ka e le Letsoa-Ntle empa a belehile Ngoanana oa Mosotho oa Mankhonthe, ea holisitsoeng Sesotho sa Mankhonthe? O ntse o tiisa hore Nna Dipuo ke Letsoa-Ntle? Ako itsoele Mokhubu ntate hobane O fositse haholo Ntate Tseka ‘me o lokela ho kopa tso’arelo ka taba ena eo o e jetseng hara lekhotla ka nna

Concluding Sentiments

Matle ke a rona. Only we can surrender the light that illuminates our passions. I am reminded of a departed friend whose voice would fit well into the ensuing compilation, Sibusiso Khwinana. The privilege to have experienced a mind as adamant about the reclamation of our power as a people has enriched my life as an artist immensely. In the same way, this collection opens a door, which should not soon be closed. Passage through this door promises engagements with different facets of our own existence and the existences of others who constitute the nation at the southern-most tip of the richest continent in the world. May we find more elements of ourselves to reflect and speak back to our audience! May we write more in our mother tongues and search within ourselves for the truth of the human condition! May we see ourselves as human beings, fully! May we realize that we are everything that we have been waiting for! And finally, may we live up to one of the most positive proclamations made by a life taken far too soon, may we live up to the notion that WE ARE THE FUTURE!


Katlego Chale, 2019