The cross Beatrice carries

COMPLICATED, life saving transplants are central to ‘Die Masjientjie’. Photograph courtesy

WHAT DO YOU tell the mother of a special needs child who has to face a medical challenge way beyond her means, emotionally or otherwise? Die Masjientjie by Joe Kleinhans is a subtle tale of hypocrisy and heartbreak and offers caveats that tease open some really complex moral questions, which will pepper your dinner conversations for some time. It’s the Afrikaans-language play of the week, this week and broadcasts on Radio Sonder Grense this evening (10 December) at 8pm.

From the opening lines of the work, the subtleties of language nuance are palpable and beautifully articulated, performed and scripted. With Gerwen Weinheimer in the eponymous role of Beatrice Nortje – a contemporary ‘fallen woman’ and Chris van Niekerk opposite her, as the pastor with baggage, the tones and nuances of the interfaces between the characters is highlighted and rich with truths, fears, lies and beliefs. And hypocrisies.

It’s a work about a maverick machine that ostensibly works miracles when it comes to pain relief, a CCMA trial and the complex morality of bone marrow transplants necessary to address certain leukaemias. It’s about a mother’s deep but complicated love for her special needs son conceived out of the bounds of marital sanctity. Mingling hope with superstition, truth with religious conviction, it’s a play that, replete with hairpin bends, will shock and hold you till its very last reveals, which skirt widely and with depth and savvy from the predictable.

Leaving you unsettled and in shock but ultimately sated that the denouement of this tale fits, Die Masjientjie is a tantalising piece of work which you should not miss.

  • Die Masjientjie is written by Joe Kleinhans. Directed by Amor Tredoux, and featuring technical input by Cassi Lowers, it is performed by Cantona James, Zenobia Kloppers, Jolene Martin, André Samuels, Robin Smith, Chris van Niekerk and Gerwen Weinheimer. It broadcasts on RSG on 10 December 2020 and will be repeated in the radio station’s all night programme, Deurnag, on Monday 15 December 2020 at 1am. The play is available on podcast through the radio station’s website:

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