Daily Maverick (Johannesburg)

18 May 2014

South Africa: The Mother of All Eating - Biting Off More Than It Can Chew

analysis

Here's a play that could be elevated from pretty good to smoking in just two easy steps: cut it down and bring it home.

For a 20-year-old play, The Mother of All Eating is sadly more relevant now than it was in the past.

Unlike science fiction stories where the predictions often prove embarrassingly wrong, the play's prediction of government corruption leeching all the way to the top has been fulfilled.

So kudos to playwright Zakes Mda, but shame on us, South Africa.

Except that this play highlighting and satirising corruption is set in Lesotho. Although we kept having to be reminded of that, in case we thought the government ministers and parastatals being lampooned were ours. And of course they are, so retaining the play's original Lesotho setting when the author is South African and the problems are ours seems like pussyfooting around. Like shouting 'stop thief' then pointing at the wrong man.

It's time to bite the bullet and bring it home.

It wouldn't take much doing, just some name changes and a dropping of the references to Lesotho.

Director Makhaola Ndebele has already changed the play substantially by dividing the original one-man script between...

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