Don’t tell anyone, but …


HAVE you heard? Gossip is under the loupe in Eleanor Combrink’s hilarious radio play Die Reine Waarheid.

A MAN EATS some preserved figs and develops a painful wind. Before you know it, the slight discomfort has turned into a severe heart attack, nay, cause for a quintuplet bypass. If there is such a thing. In the blink of an eyelid, he’s been whisked off to intensive care in Bloemfontein and is shivering on death’s door. And what’s more, his personal life is falling to bits because he’s bonking the neighbour, and takes too many little blue pills, and that’s nothing, in relation to his financial situation… This delightful Afrikaans-language radio drama offers bold and clearly defined insights into the anatomy of community gossip. It’s tragic and hilarious at the same time, and reflects an astute and really funny portrait of internal dynamics, the kind that keeps the gossip on the boil.

Beautifully structured and articulately played by a strong cast, there’s a peppering of soapie energy in this hour-long play, but it also has the kind of texture that lends itself well to the energy of community narrative. This play works in Afrikaans, but it probably would sing with just as much parochial vibrancy in Yiddish for instance.

Rich with idiomatic expressions, it’s a play about neighbourhood and about the hand-to-mouth-to-ear relating of the ‘dinkum’ truth through the proverbial grapevine. From the post office to the hardware shop, to the phone lines, between well-meaning women and their kind-natured concerned husbands, the tale under scrutiny goes through the proverbial blender and forays into the man’s bed, his bank account and his future are made with sincerely earnest speculation.

Die Reine Waarheid is a strong and clear portrait of the smallness of society, crafted with a sense of wisdom and a perfect understanding of rhythm and timing.  It’s hilarious and cynical and will keep you glued to the wireless from its honky-tonk beginning to its delightful closure.

  • Die Reine Waarheid (The dinkum truth) is written by Eleanor Lombard. Directed by Joanie Combrink, and featuring technical input by Cassi Lowers, it is performed by Susanne Beyers, Johan Botha, Lida Botha, Johann Nel, Lindie Stander, Johann Stassen, Elanza Swart and Esther von Waltsleben, and debuts on Radio Sonder Grense (RSG) – 100-104fm – on Thursday, June 21 at 8pm. It will be rebroadcast on Deurnag, RSG’s all night programme, at 1am on Monday, June 25 and is also available on podcast:

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