South African Literature
By Athol Fugard
Athol Fugard has an international reputation. This play is in some respects reminiscent of Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot. In a dramatic dialogue which is bleak but emotionally varied and shot through with wild humor, the two protagonists, a man and a woman, struggle with each other and with a strong sense of the meaninglessness of their lives. But whereas Beckett's characters' near-despair was philosophical, existential, Boesman and Lena, two so-called "Coloreds", are the victims of an uncaring social system. Having no legal right to a place of residence, they are constantly on the move through the mudflats of the Eastern Cape, carrying their meager belongings and scraps of metal and wood from place to place. Scorned by the powers-that-be, they have ended up despising themselves and each other. And yet at the same time the will to survive and to find some meaning is strong in them.
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