Gone Native

Joburg City Theatres (JCT) will stage Gone Native at Soweto Theatre in August 2017 as part of its women’s month programming.

The play will be directed by JCT’s Artistic Manager, Makhaola Ndebele, who will be working closely with Louis Molamu, who has compiled the research material and provided written guidance for the scripting of the play. Hugh Masekela will be the musical director for the play. Gone Native shows the power of love, the strength and resilience of youth, and complex nature of life in South Africa at the time. It encourages young South Africans today to follow their hearts despite political boundaries and to persevere, even when success looks unlikely. It is truly a story of inspiration, love, and truth. When two people fall in love, nothing can come between them. Not language or foe; no law, not even apartheid, could come between these star-crossed lovers. Gone Native, which will be showing at the Soweto Theatre from the 8 to 20 August, is about the life of Regina Brooks. Regina Brooks was a white woman who never could find her place in white society. She was far happier spending her time with ‘Africans’, as she would say. Throughout her life, she had black lovers and chose to live with black families.

Gone Native

Richard Khumalo grew up herding cattle for his father. He later became a servant for a white family and he assisted in raising their white children. He was then diagnosed with heart disease and travelled the country searching for a cure, which fortunately he found. A few years later, he moved to Johannesburg where he joined the police force, became a sergeant and married a woman by the name of Roseline. It was at his wedding to Roseline, in Vrede, that he met Regina Brooks. The play focuses on how two young South Africans were able to fall in love against incredible odds and how they stood up against society and the apartheid laws that were against their union. Although ultimately, the negative conditions of society and government at the time made certain that the relationship would not last long, it is a story worth telling.

The play focuses on how two young South Africans were able to fall in love against incredible odds and how they stood up against society and the apartheid laws that were against their union

Today, women speak to men that speak to them, even if they don’t want to, out of fear of what the man would do should they ignore them. Today, wives are raped because they are not allowed to make their own decisions about what it is that they want with their own bodies, in their own homes. Some men feel they are entitled to the love and the body of a woman. Gone Native articulates another narrative. Regina Brooks, so confident in herself, allows us to share a different narrative with the communities of women around Soweto and the greater Johannesburg region. The narrative of this story is that women are entitled to happiness. The staging of Gone Native, in particular, is important for Soweto Theatre because of this narrative. Here, we have a woman strong in her convictions, who goes for what she wants; a woman who makes her own choices despite the odds. Regina Brooks was a white woman who preferred to live with black people. She moved from farm to farm until she found a community and a farmer who would let her be. She fell in and out of love in relationships that society as a whole disapproved of. When she met Richard Khumalo, the man she calls her soul mate, she was unafraid to fall in love, despite meeting him at his wedding (to another woman)!

Gone Native

Even though in the end this love is lost, what an inspiring tale that it even lasted for some period of time during apartheid. For a moment, Regina and Richard lived in bliss, lived in happiness and, against all odds, they existed! The Soweto Theatre over the past two years has steadily standardised its programme, bringing major productions for the theatre and art loving community in Gauteng. The productions are of a high quality and service at the theatre is impeccable. Show times are fixed at 20:00 Tuesday to Saturday and 15:00 on a Sunday. Tickets to the theatre are available through webtickets on the Soweto Theatre website www.sowetotheatre.com. There is a 10% discount applied to all bookings of 10 or more and bookings may be made via telephone by calling 0861 670 670. Let us celebrate our history, let us celebrate our women, let us tell our stories. Soweto Theatre invites you to Gone Native, so you can remember that we are is resilient, we are strong, we are love!

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