Moonshine and black coffee


57 Years Apart- A Boy And a Man Talk About Life

CAMARADERIE, skipping a generation, in Gerhard J Beukes’s As ons twee getroud is. Photograph courtesy

As you barge into the Van der Merwes’ household this evening, all the miseries of lockdown will miraculously disappear, albeit for just one hour. Tonight sees the start of Radio Sonder Grense’s Afrikaans-language radio theatre season, and the organisers have brought a beautiful and hilarious gem from their archives. Recorded in 1986, As ons twee eers getroud is, a classic work by Gerhard J Beukes is domestic farce conjoined with a dash of dark humour, some wiggly things in grandpa’s trousers and a meddling widow.

All sewn together with a deft hand that dots every proverbial ‘i’ and crosses all the ‘t’s, it’s a satisfying laugh-a-second tale of family dynamics. Featuring a very young Jan Ellis as Karel, the pre-teen baby in the Van Der Merwe family, it’s a work which is highlighted by the wisdom of the grandpa (Jan Lombard), in this three-generational household.

It’s a rambunctious tale of white lies, slightly broken promises and tricks in an ordinary family who know how to rough it and tumble under the complexities of married life. Indeed, they’ve done it for 25 years, and it is the day before the big anniversary celebration that we meet Magriet (Trix Pienaar) and Frans (Johan van Jaarsveld), and their hilarious home affairs quandary.

All is revealed, to the perplexity of the meddling neighbour Mrs Bloom (played by the late Kitty Albertyn) with a moment in narrative hilarity that evokes the dream in Fiddler on the Roof. You will laugh out loud at the twists and turns of catastrophe or perceived catastrophe in this work’s trajectory, but it is not only the tale that will hold you by your belly laugh. It is the repartee between grand-dad and grandson that is the pinnacle of this delicious work. Balancing earnestness with naughtiness and pushing envelopes as far as they will go in a world of gullibility, the work holds together the real with a sense of great wisdom.

It’s a beautiful work. A portrait of life in a family enclosed with its own insecurities and a tale of social convention spiced with a frog named ‘Cow’ and Mendelssohn’s wedding march. Don’t miss it!

  • As ons twee eers getroud is (When we two are married) is written by Gerhard J Beukes and directed by Margot Luyt. Featuring technical input by Terence Carr and Paul Zimmerman, it is performed by Kitty Albertyn, Thereze Benz, Jan Cilliers, Trudi du Plessis, Jan Ellis, Jan Lombard, Trix Pienaar, Edward Turner and Johan van Jaarsveld, and broadcasts on RSG on April 2 at 8pm. It is rebroadcast on the station’s all night programme, Deurnag at 1am on Monday April 6 and is also available on podcast:

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