Umongikazi – a new play


Hey wena vuka! Wesaba bani. Vukani silweni Iomkhuba!


A new play is on at the Market Theatre in Johannesburg. The play is called ‘Umongikazi’ (The Nurse). The play shows the suffering, the sadness – and the funny side of life in a black hospital.


The writer is Moishe Maponya. He is also an actor in the play. The play has three other actors. They are Bennet Tlouana, Fumana Kokome and Nokugcina Mhlophe. Moishe took many months to write the play. He spoke to people who work in hospitals. He says his play tells the truth about our black hospitals.


This is the story of the play.


A young woman wants to help sick people. She becomes a nurse. And she gets a big surprise. A hospital is not such a nice place.


People wait for many hours before a doctor will see them. Sick people sleep on the floor. Everyday people die. Many doctors and nurses are hard and cruel. A place for getting better is a place of suffering for many people.


Umongikazi wants the people to see the truth about the hospitals in our country. But the play also makes people laugh. The writer of the play believes that people must sometimes laugh at their problems.


So the play makes people laugh. But we don’t laugh all the time when we see the play. We cannot laugh about some things.


In one part the doctor does not help a new born baby. The baby dies.The nurse is angry. She came to help sick people. She did not come to see people die for no reason. She decides to do something. She talks to the other nurses in the hospital. A black doctor gives her advice. They decide to form a trade union. They want to fight for changes in the hospital


In the play a white doctor points a gun at the black nurse. This also happened in a hospital. The doctor then called the matron. The matron shouts at the nurse.The police take the nurse away. They tell her to behave like a good nurse. But she is not scared. She believes the union can fix the problems in the hospital.The play ends with a song. The actors sing their message to the people:

“Wake up lazy people while we are still happy while we can laugh, while we are still happy while we can giggle stand up lazy people”


You can see the play at the Market Theatre in Johannesburg until the January. Then the play will go to the townships. Watch out for it.

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