Full Circle (unbrOken Review) The first time I came into contact with artist Kobus Moolman was when I sent my poem Valhalla and others to the publication he edits so brilliantly, FIDELITIES which I am indebted to mention that it usually is sponsored by highly progressive Umsunduzi Municipality. Valhalla is a hardcore poem. Check some of its lines, "I can finally down a pint never fear about tomorrow/ Pass out plus fuck a telephone they will call tomorrow..../ Today we celebrate our arrival to;/ A stage in life when we can smoke weed, get drunk & fuck". That would rather unsettle a few hypocrites who think the world is flat and the oxygen we involuntarily inhale is 100% safe and free of toxic emissions. Before I move along let me make an allegation I shall dare not substanciate that since 1913 the air we breath has lost 33.08% of its quality. That's why we're so asthmatic and we often sneeze blood. That's why non-smokers are no better than smokers these days.
Speaking of good old bald-headed Moolman, my next contact with him was physical during the Poetry Africa festival in Durban a year ago. We shook hands, I introduced myself, he remembered bloody Valhalla, we hugged. It's nice when editors publish my stuff without thinking that I say a lot of fucks between metaphors. On the night Moolman was rather pre-occupied, having pep-talk with his poet-friend Mzi Mahola, poet
Mpho Ramaano and antically (like an ant) building permanent bridges. I haven't seen him since then until...
Until my ever-vigilant art detector spotted and read, in a rather deja vu fashion about his exploits as an award-winning playwright - which is stuff I did not know. The story was in Tonight (Tuesday November 6,2007) and I bumped on it while reading my own story (Poetry that hits you in the Gut). The story was about him being a finalist in the Performing Arts Network of South Africa's (PANSA) Festival of Contemporary Theatre Readings and New Writings competition. However the entry for this year is different from the one he won the award for three years ago, Full Circle.
He told Tonight, 'I knew I needed to write another play coming out of Full Circle and follow up with something else'. Three years after Full Circle scooped the award, it has now been published in book form by that ironing soldier, Dye Hard Press of Gary Cummiskey. Because we are the K9 of arts blogs, the few who don't do gossip but initiatie, we sniffed the play and put it in acid for a proper cleansing. First points should go to the cover design that features a darkie looking through a set of binoculars which shows that what he sees is a white woman who's also looking at him through her own set of binoculars. Trivial? Wait. In times of war and absolute conflict they say that if an army commander looked through his binoculars and noticed that he was equally watched he's got a quarter of a second to avoid a sniper's slug piercing his dome. And for me that's what makes the 'trivial' cover interesting.
Perusing through the pages one is struck by the simplicity that the story is told. The play has four characters who all complement the rainbow nation ideal of a 1994 newly democratic South Africa. This play is set at the time when Nelson Mandela was still president, flanked by FW de Klerk and Thabo Mbeki. This play is set when a few people had a hobby of target shooting.
Interesting titbits is the relationship between Oom and Boetie which at times serves as a barometre of how generations have grown apart. Oom comes across as a vintage Afrikaner Oomie with family values, who feels he should be the custodian of the clan's treasures. While Boetie would like to reflect the modern jappie with a quitessential sense of purpose and grit, some of his antics suggest he's caught up in a time warp - dangerously.
Meisie mitigates the morass because she's got a sense of humour and her language is not as freely profane as that of Oom and Boetie. It becomes very interesting when a land issue crops up between the Le Rouxs (Oom, Boetie and Meisie) and the Inspector. Boetie claims the land was given to them by God and an argument ensues about why would God give to others land that doesn't belong to Him but someone else. And those days of target shooting look less surreal and more real.
It's such wit and humour that makes Full Circle a worthy play and what contributed to its success during its premiere at the Rhodes Box Theatre in Grahamstown during the National Arts Festival two years ago. This is undoubtedly a well-written story. Its flow and tenacity, exploration of religious dogma in a transitional state are what makes it an interesting read.
* And in case you wanted to solve the trivia and find out who are the two folks on the cover ogling at each other over binoculars, just call them Meisie and Inspector (it will make you happy I swear)
Like all other Dye Hard Press titles Full Circle is available at Bacchus Books in Johannesburg or you can order it directly.
KOBUS MOOLMAN is a senior Education Officer at the Tatham Art Gallery in Pietermaritzburg. In 2000 his solo collection of poetry, Time like Stone was published by Gecko Poetry. This collection was awarded the Ingrid Jonker Prize for 2001. In 2001 he was one of the five poets featured in a collection by Botsotso Publishers, entitled simply 5. Kobus is the editor of the poetry journal, Fidelities. Full Circle has also been staged at the Market Theatre and Oval House Theatre (London) in 2006 - additional information sourced from Timbila Poetry Project

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