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A Man Called Rejoice

 

 

 

 

 

 

by James Whyle

 

 

 

 

For Rejoice Mpofu and Cliff Nkosi, on whose lives this play is based.

 

 

 

 

With thanks to Claire Grove

 

 

 

 

FX: ROOF AMBIENCE: SPACE, DISTANT TRAFFIC AND PIET MY VROU. A NAIL IS HAMMERED IN. REJOICE IQUDU IS DOING SOME WORK ON A TIN ROOF.

 

REJOICE†††††† (Sings) Hey baby hey, hey beautiful girlÖ (Hammers) Come along, come to kiss me, before Iím going. Come along, come to kiss me, before Iím going.(Hammers) Wonít you kiss me nice, nice, before Iím going.

 

††††††††††††††††††††††† FX: CROSS FADE TO

 

CD: KANIDIA KOUYATE - DONINKE, FROM THE BEST OF THE AFRICAN CONNECTION WITH RICHARD NWAMBA.FADE AND HOLD UNDER AS THE SINGING STARTS. THIS IS ORCHARD IQUDUíS MUSIC AND PLAYS UNDER ALL HIS NARRATION.

 

ORCHARD SPEAKS DIRECTLY TO US, TELLING HIS STORY. HIS PRESENTATION IS LIGHT, SMILING AND FOCUSSED. HE IS CONCERNED WITH ACCURACY, BUT DETERMINED TO LOOK ON THE BRIGHT SIDE.

 

ORCHARD †† I am Orchard Iqudu, brother of Rejoice. I am the last born from a family of five.Our father was Joseph Iqudu.Iqudu is an antelope. It is an animal.If you come with the skin of that antelope, I do not touch it. There is connection to that animal. There is respect. It is our ancestor. If you touch that skin it means danger for your kids. You can get a kid without teeth. For life. Because you are not respecting it. You can eat the meat, but not the heart. Two, donít touch the skin. Whether it is dry or it is wet, never touch the skin. That one will affect your kids.

 

††††††††††††††††††††††† CD:FADE UP FOR A FEW BEATS. CONTINUES UNDER.

 

WARREN †††† It was Susan who found Rejoice. She made a deal with him.He got a room out behind the garage. And the arrangement was, he had to do one day a week for us. Gardening, painting, whatever.(Beat) Susanís got a way with these guys. She can really relate to them.

 

††††††††††††††††††††††† FADE CD.

 

FX: HOUSE AMBIENCE. DISTANT RADIO OR TV. PLUS PLATES, KNIVES. SUSAN AND WARREN ARE FINISHING SUPPER.

 

SUSAN††††††††† I wish you wouldnít talk like that, Warren. (Beat) They not them.

 

WARREN††††† They sure as hell arenít the same as us.

 

SUSAN††††††††† Of course they are.

 

WARREN †††† Thatís naÔve.

 

SUSAN††††††††† Well all the things that you say you canít do, like tiling, and getting rid of that hideous old toilet in the spare bathroomÖ Rejoice is going to do.

 

WARREN††††† (Beat) His name is Rejoice?

 

SUSAN††††††††† Yes, and he has a wife in Zimbabwe called Hardship, and a girlfriend in Joburg called Harmony.

 

WARREN††††† How do you know this?

 

SUSAN††††††††† Margaret Jones. He did their floor. If you buy a house that needs tender loving care, Warren, then you actually have to do the tender loving care. You canít just let it rot around your ears.

 

WARREN††††† I wonder if heís any good with roofs? There's a horrific leak in the garage.

 

SUSAN††††††††† Well hello.

 

WARREN††††† How on earth do you get a name like Rejoice?

 

††††††††††††††††††††††† FX:BACK ROOM AMBIENCE. ITíS SMALL, CRAMPED, AND ITíS WALLS ARE HUNG WITH BLANKETS AND CLOTHES.THERE IS A GASPLATE GOING. WE HEAR TIN MUGS AND SPOONS. ORCHARD IS PREPARING TEA.

 

ORCHARD††† Eish, Rejoice. Mketwais a good man. He has authority.

 

REJOICE†††††† (Cold) Where is that tea?

 

ORCHARD††† Itís nearly boiling. You mustnít be impatient. (Beat) What does it matter?

 

REJOICE†††††† Orchard, we are Ndebele. Not Zulu. Ndebele.

 

ORCHARD††† But this is Johannesburg. Everything is just mixed.

 

REJOICE†††††† Even Shaka Zulu could not conquer our ancestors! They escaped him and fought for land in Zimbabwe.We took land there from the Mashona and we made our own place. We must never forget that.

 

ORCHARD††† What Iím saying, it is a simple thing. Mketwa has a car. And because of that it is good for him to be president of the society.

 

REJOICE†††††† Orchard, that man can never be president.

 

ORCHARD††† He is an important man!

 

REJOICE†††††† No.

 

ORCHARD††† Why not?

 

REJOICE†††††† Athing like the society can only be organized when there are responsible persons in charge. You cannot just appoint any dunderhead because he has a motorized vehicle!

 

ORCHARD††† Rejoice, you are not seeing.

 

REJOICE†††††† (Fierce) Mketwa will cheat you!He will cheat you out of your own box!

 

††††††††††††††††††††††† CD: KANIDIA KOUYATE - DONINKE

 

ORCHARD††† Rejoice and me, we grew up in Zimbabwe, there at Imvula, in the rural areas. Thereís a school, and thereís an orchard, and a dam behind. That name, Imvula, is from the dam. It is almost never dry. We like it because it has a lot of fish. Imvula is a mountainous region.If thereís rain, everything is growing. Even in the veldt. Only in the veldt you have to manure. Me and Rejoice, from when we grew up,we knew how to grow things.

 

FX:GARDEN AMBIENCE. DISTANT TRAFFIC, BIRDS, DISTANT PIET MY VROU. PLUS TWO STROKE LAWN MOWER.

 

SUSAN †††††††† Rejoice. (Louder) Rejoice.

 

FX: LAWN MOVER DIES.

 

SUSAN††††††††† Sorry, Rejoice. Warren asked me to give you this. In case you need petrol.

 

REJOICE†††††† Thank you, Susan. In fact I think it is nearly empty.

 

SUSAN††††††††† And he wanted to know if you can start work with him on the garage roof tomorrow.

 

REJOICE†††††† I can only work in the afternoon. In the morning I am very busy.

 

SUSAN††††††††† Oh. Heíll be disappointed.

 

REJOICE ††††† Unfortunately I have to go to the society.

 

SUSAN††††††††† (Beat) The what?

 

FX: HOUSE AMBIENCE. PLUS TAP RUNNING. WARREN IS BRUSHING HIS TEETH, SUSAN COMBING HER HAIR.

 

WARREN††††† The Society?

 

SUSAN††††††††† Ja.

 

WARREN †††† Pass me the mug. Thanks. (Rinses) On a Sunday morning?

 

SUSAN††††††††† Ja.

 

WARREN††††† Canít be a building society. Can it? On a Sunday?

 

SUSAN††††††††† I donít know.

 

WARREN††††† (Beat) You look dead sexy in that.

 

SUSAN††††††††† Good. Iíll see you later.

 

FX: DEPARTING FOOTSTEPS. A SLAMMING DOOR TELLS US SHEíS GONE. WARREN WHISTLES.FADE HOUSE.

 

FX: BACK ROOM AMBIENCE.

 

ORCHARD††† Eish, careful of the stew, Rejoice.

 

REJOICE†††††† Why must you cook right here by the mirror.

 

ORCHARD††† (Laughs) Because that is where you put the stove. If you put your stove right by the mirror, then that is where I must cook!

 

REJOICE†††††† Did you use all my hair cream?

 

ORCHARD††† I never touched it. Your hair is very nice.

REJOICE†††††† And the jacket?

 

ORCHARD††† Quite beautiful, really.

 

REJOICE†††††† These trousers are pure wool. From Naidooís second hand in Elof St.

 

ORCHARD††† How much?

 

REJOICE†††††† R35.75.(Beat) The shoes. Are they shining enough?

 

ORCHARD††† They are shining too much. How do you get them so clean?

 

REJOICE†††††† Spit. Youíll keep food for me?

 

ORCHARD††† Of course. What you think?

 

REJOICE†††††† (Beat) Itís better if you come.

 

ORCHARD††† Rejoice, I have already told them that you have got my vote!

 

CD KANIDIA KOUYATE - DONINKE

 

ORCHARD††† I donít know why Rejoice was so worried. Because in fact the society doesnít take only Ndebeles. We have got people from Pretoria. People from Bloemfontein. We donít mind. What we judge is the distance. Because if the distance is too much,the cost can be too much. That is where these short algebras become useful.

 

FX:HOUSE AMBIENCE.PLUS KNIVES, FORKS ETC.

 

WARREN††††† Rejoice was all dressed up again this morning. Did you see? Dark fifties suit. Wide lapels.

 

SUSAN††††††††† I know. Like someÖ movie character off to meet a girl. (Beat) Do you know what his surname is?

 

WARREN††††† EkuÖ something. Apparently it means some kind of buck.

 

FX: FADE SUPPER.

 

CD: KANIDIA KOUYATE - DONINKE

 

ORCHARD††† Our father, Joseph Iqudu, was a poor man. He worked as a security guard in a shop. He tried to support us, me and Rejoice and three more brothers, five of us!And so we managed to get a small education.

 

†††††††††††††††††††††† FX: BACK ROOM. ORCHARD IS TASTING THE STEW. THE DOOR OPENS. REJOICE ENTERS. THEY GREET EACH OTHER IN NDEBELE/ZULU. REJOICE SITS.

 

REJOICE†††††† (Sings to himself) Come along, come to kiss me, before Iím going. Wonít you kiss me nice, niceÖ

 

††††††††††††††††††††††† REJOICESHUMS, CEASES, SIGHS. ORCHARD PUTS DOWN THE SPOON.

 

ORCHARD††† What happened?

 

REJOICE†††††† Eish.

 

ORCHARD††† What?

 

REJOICE†††††† They voted.

 

ORCHARD††† And?

 

REJOICE†††††† We must share the position. (An outrage)They have made me and Mketwa joint President of the society! (Sings/hums) I send a messenger to tell that I want to meet you, at the stationÖ(Hums) wonít you kiss me, nice, niceÖ

 

ORCHARD††† (Suspicious beat) Why you singing like that, Rejoice? (Beat) Rejoice?

 

REJOICE†††††† I was so angry with the voting that I had to make a little detour past Harmony.

 

ORCHARD††† You went there? To Mketwaís place?

 

REJOICE†††††† She is so soft that one. She is like butter. Like fresh cream straight from the cow. After tasting there, I feel like a man again. If Mketwa wants to share my chair at milking time, then I will share his cream.

 

ORCHARD††† Eish, Rejoice. You are taking too much risks, really.

 

FX:HOUSE AMBIENCE. PLUS WATER, CROCKERY SUSAN IS WASHING UP, HUMMING TO HERSELF.

 

SUSAN††††††††† Anything interesting in the paper?

 

WARREN††††† Just the normal stuff. Rape. Mayhem. Minister of Health refuses to admit that HIV causes Aids.

 

SUSAN††††††††† You know itís killing five hundred to a thousand people a day.

 

WARREN††††† Oh please. Did you read the Rian Malan piece in that magazine?

 

SUSAN††††††††† Yes I did. Classic denial.

 

WARREN††††† You NGO types make up figures so that you can get funding. You test pregnant women and then you say for every pregnant woman who is positive, there will be five other people in her community who are also positive.Itís a wild guess. Besides being a cultural insult.

 

SUSAN††††††††† I see the government figures at work. There are at least five hundredpeople dying a day! And that is a conservative estimate. (Beat)Imagine if we were in a war, and we were losing five hundred people a day! (Beat) And it takes up to five years from infection till people start getting sick. The majority of infected peoplein South African probably donít even know theyíve got it. Theyíre still are still out there infecting others. In five years time, 3000 a day will be dying. Three thousand a day. How many people a day do America and Britain lose to terrorism? Point naught, naught one.We should be using those kinds of recourses on Aids.We should be treating it like a war.

 

WARREN†††† WellÖ if you right about the figuresÖI donít know if we should be here.

 

FX: ROOF AMBIENCE: SPACE, DISTANT TRAFFIC, DISTANT PIET MY VROU. PLUSROOF NAILS HAMMERED INTO CORRUGATED IRON AND WOOD.

 

REJOICE†††††† (Sings) Come along, come to kiss me, before Iím going. Come along, come to kiss me, before Iím going.

 

††††††††††††††††††††††† FX: WARREN COMES UP THE LADDER.

 

WARREN††††† I see you replacing some of those panels.

 

REJOICE†††††† Many of them are rotten, Warren. They are finished. Always, when you working on a roof, you much check the zincs. All those ones that are rusted, you must throw them out. The rust is the first thing that can kill a roof.

 

WARREN††††† You the expert. I brought you some tea.

 

REJOICE†††††† Thank you, Warren.

 

††††††††††††††††††††††† FX: TEA POURED FROM A THERMOS.PASSING IBIS CALLING.

 

REJOICE†††††† (Laughs) They are noisy, those ones. (Imitating) HaaaaÖ HaaaaÖ

 

REJOICE†††††† They are angry that we are sitting on their roof.

 

††††††††††††††††††††††† IBISES CALL IN THE DISTANCE. TEA SLURPED.

 

WARREN††††† How did you get your name, Rejoice?

 

REJOICE†††††† My father gave it to me.

 

WARREN††††† Itís your proper name? On your passport?

 

REJOICE†††††† Yes.(Beat) I first came to Johannesburg in 1992.The comrades were stillthrowing stones. The Zulus were marching with traditional weapons. In those days guys with balaclavas were getting onto the trains and just killing anyone who happened to be sitting there.

 

WARREN††††† They called it the third force.

 

REJOICE†††††† They were hitting them on the head with a panga and leaving them for dead.

 

WARREN††††† I know. I saw guys walking around with AKs in the middle of town.

 

REJOICE†††††† Itís true. And so many people thought it was better to have some kind of political name like Mandla. Power. They thought these names like mine are not good. But I was considering the meaning of the word,ďrejoiceĒ.And I decided I like that meaning.I decided I will keep it always. (Beat) Sitting on a roof with the sun just passing away over Johannesburg... (Beat) I know I made the right choice.

 

††††††††††††††††††††††† CD: KANIDIA KOUYATE - DONINKE

 

ORCHARD††† Our father, his first kid wasnít born. He died. Our father wasnít happy. Then he got a second one. It was a lady. She died also. Then came Rejoice. He came in 1956 after two years of trying. When our mother first told him that she was pregnant, my father touched her there by the stomach and he said:ďThis guyÖ is Rejoice.Ē

 

††††††††††††††††††††††† FX: BACK ROOM AMBIENCE.WE HEAR REJOICE AND HARMONYíS BREATH CLOSE ON MIKE. THEY ARE FUCKING.

 

HARMONY††† Rejoice!

 

REJOICE†††††† Harmony!

 

HARMONY††† Oh Rejoice.

 

REJOICE†††††† (Sings) Wonít you kiss me nice, niceÖ

 

HARMONY††† Oh Rejoice! Rejoice!

 

REJOICE†††††† Your skin has the taste of milk with chocolate.When I put my head against you here, you are as warm as a cow that is being milked beneath the hill at Imvula.

 

HARMONY††† (Coming) Oh Rejoice, Rejoice, Rejoice!

 

REJOICE†††††† (Alarmed) Sh, Harmony! Do you want to wake up the whole of Johannesburg?

 

HARMONY††† (Subsiding) Oh Rejoice. I love you so much.

 

REJOICE†††††† Sh, my baby. Not so much noise. This is meant to be secret, what we are doing.

 

HARMONY††† I love you so much.I want you to buy me a fridge.

 

REJOICE†††††† Sh, my baby. (Beat) Where do you think I will get money for a fridge?

 

††††††††††††††††††††††† CD: KANIDIA KOUYATE - DONINKE

 

ORCHARD††† In fact the name, inour culture, it often associates you, when you are still in the motherís stomach, from how she reacts to other people.You can find that suddenly she comes violently. But you know that she is not a violent person. It is you that are making her violent. From inside her stomach. And then they can give you the name of Violence. (Beat) My own name, Orchard, is very powerful. It is not just an ordinary name like a white person might have.

 

††††††††††††††††††††††† FX: ROOF AMBIENCE: SPACE, DISTANT TRAFFIC, DISTANT PIET MY VROU.

 

REJOICE†††††† At Imvula there is an orchard. Itís sits just there between the village and the school. Every year those trees are fruitful. Beautiful apples and everything like that. And hidden inside that orchard where you go in, there is aÖ what-you-call-that-thing. A water storage.

 

WARREN††††† A dam?

 

REJOICE†††††† No, that small deep one.

 

WARREN††††† UhÖ a well?

 

REJOICE†††††† That one. That well is so deep. When you drop a stone you have to wait long time before you hear it hit the water. It is very wonderful to the village because the water is much sweeter than the dam. Even during the drought when parts of the dam can become stagnant.But it can be dangerous. One time an oldwoman drowned in there. We struggled many days to get her body out.

 

††††††††††††††††††††††† CD: KANIDIA KOUYATE - DONINKE

†††††††††††††††††††††††

ORCHARD††† It was in my fatherís mind when he named me that the orchard was good, but also dangerous. The orchard gives you fruit, but if you fall in the well you will be vanished from this world. (Beat) Sometimes, when the moon is straight above, I can see things in the water of that well. (Beat) One time, when I was still a small child, I looked into that water, and I saw Rejoice. But instead of feet, there were just flames.

††††††††††††††††††††††† FX: ROOF WORK AMBIENCE.

 

WARREN††††† Where did you learn to fix roofs?

 

REJOICE†††††† I learnt that side, in Zim. I worked ona farm there. I learnt every single thing that was known about that farm.

 

WARREN††††† Oh ja?

 

REJOICE†††††† Before I was finished, I was even the manager. I knew all what was going. Everything, everybody who was employed there, has to pass by me first. I show him how to milk with the machine. If this cow doesnít want the machine, I show how to milk it by hand. (Beat) That lady, Mrs Wells, the owner, she came to rely on me in every way. I did all the different functions. Inseminating, whatever you want me to do.

 

WARREN††††† You do artificial insemination?

 

REJOICE†††††† Itís very easy, that one.Even if you have fifty cows, I will inseminate them all, right here on your front lawn.

 

††††††††††††††††††††††† FX: FADE ROOF AMBIENCE.

 

CD: KANIDIA KOUYATE Ė DONINKE.

 

ORCHARD††† It happened to me in 1983 that I didnít have school fees. My mother was not happy that I was not at school. But she knew I was a loving-school guy. So she told me, ďNo, better go to your brother. Just to get relaxed.Ē

 

††††††††††††††††††††††† FX: ZINC BUCKET ON CONCRETE FLOOR, COWS.

 

REJOICE†††††† You must pull gently. And smooth. Always aiming in the bucket. Like this.

 

††††††††††††††††††††††† FX: MILK HITTING THE BUCKET.

 

ORCHARD††† It looks quite simple, really.

 

REJOICE†††††† Here. Take the stool.

 

ORCHARD††† Okay.

 

††††††††††††††††††††††† FX: STOOL SHIFTING.

 

ORCHARD††† Eish. Itís very low.

 

FX: MILK HITTING BUCKET. TENTATIVE.

 

ORCHARD †† Like this?

 

REJOICE†††††† No. You must lean against the cow! You must be the friend of the cow.

 

ORCHARD †† Okay. Like this.

 

††††††††††††††††††††††† FX: RHYTHM IMPROVES.

 

REJOICE†††††† Thatís better.

 

††††††††††††††††††††††† FX: MILK HITTING BUCKET.

 

REJOICE†††††† Good.

 

ORCHARD††† How many cows are there on the farm Rejoice?

 

REJOICE†††††† A hundred and sixty-fourAnd two bulls. Thatís right. Nice and easy. Lean into the cow.

 

ORCHARD††† And how much milk does each cow give?

 

REJOICE†††††† (Proud) The best cow on this farm last year was Butterfield Dreamer Three. She produced six thousand, eight hundred and eighty-eight kilograms in one year.

 

ORCHARD†† Yes, but I am trying to find the average. I am trying to find out mathematically how much milk is produced by each cow.

 

REJOICE†††††† Eish.

 

ORCHARD††† What was the cow that gave the least milk last year? Do you have these figures?

 

REJOICE†††††† Mrs Wells has them.

 

ORCHARD††† You donít remember?

 

††††††††††††††††††††††† FX. MILK RHYTHM SPEEDS UP.

 

REJOICE†††††† No. Do it smoothly, Orchard.

 

ORCHARD††† Okay.But if that Butterfield whatever made eight thousand and eighty kilograms, what do you think the least would be. Maybe six thousand kilograms?

 

REJOICE†††††† Orchard, canít you just think about what you doing?

 

ORCHARD††† I am capable of doing two things at the same time, Rejoice. Just make a guess. How much?

 

REJOICE†††††† Maybe six thousand five hundred kilograms.

 

ORCHARD††† Okay. Okay. Letís use that. So there are one hundred and sixty-four cowsÖ

 

††††††††††††††††††††††† FX: MILKING RHYTHM SPEEDS UP ERRATICALLY.

 

REJOICE†††††† (Alarmed) Think about what you are doing, Orchard. Smooth. You are disturbing the cow!

 

ORCHARD††† Okay, okay.

 

††††††††††††††††††††††† FX: RHYTHM IMPROVES.

 

REJOICE†††††† Anyway, at this time only eighty of the cows are being milked.

 

REJOICE†††††† Only eighty? OkayÖ let us take these eighty cows. I can see them standing in the field. And this Butterfield cow is makingeight thousand eight hundred and eighty kilograms, and the worst cow is six thousand five hundredÖ

 

††††††††††††††††††††††† FX: MILK BECOMES ERRATIC.

 

REJOICE†††††† Orchard!

 

ORCHARD††† I can do this in my mind. No paper. No pen.

 

REJOICE†††††† Orchard, think about what you are doing!

 

ORCHARD††† (Triumphant) Seven thousand and six hundred and ninety kilograms. That is the average.

 

††††††††††††††††††††††† FX: MOOO. BUCKET FALLING ON CONCRETE.

 

REJOICE†††††† (Alarmed) Eish! Look what has happened!

 

ORCHARD††† Iím sorry.

 

REJOICE†††††† (Disappointed) Maybe it is better if you stick with the maths, really.

 

††††††††††††††††††††††† FX: ROOF AMBIENCE. SUSAN IS COMING UP THE LADDER.

 

SUSAN††††††††† Okay. Here are the roof nails and fibre glass strips. And hereís the sealant. I hope itís allright. Warren was in a bit of a hurry when he gave me the list.

 

REJOICE†††††† Thank you, Susan. Iím sorry to disturb your work.

 

SUSAN††††††††† No problem. Oh and Rejoice. (Beat) Harmony was here to see you. Early in this morning.

 

REJOICE†††††† Harmony? (Beat) Where is she now?

 

SUSAN††††††††† I donít know. I told her you werenít here.

 

REJOICE†††††† Eish!

 

††††††††††††††††††††††† SUSAN VENTURES INTO DIFFICULT TERRITORY.

 

SUSAN††††††††† RejoiceÖyou do know about Aidís, donít you?

 

REJOICE†††††† I know about it, Susan.

 

SUSAN††††††††† (Struggles) I know in your culture, sometimes a man canÖ I donít want to disrespectful or anything butÖ Basically I justÖ (Bottom line) I know from work how dangerous it is. Youíve got to be so careful, Rejoice.

 

††††††††††††††††††††††† REJOICE CHOOSES NOT TO GO THERE.

 

REJOICE†††††† You mustnít worry about me, Susan. I am a strong man. Ever since I was a small child I have been looking after everyone. Because I am the oldest brother. So I must be like a father. Always providing.Looking after Orchard. Sending food and money for Hardship. Looking after the children.

 

††††††††††††††††††††††† AND SUSAN GOES WITH THE DECISION.

 

SUSAN††††††††† (Beat) They were saying on the radio that there are terrible food shortages up there.

 

REJOICE†††††† Every month I must send mielie-meal. Every month without fail. Then those thieves at the border are stealing it. And the war veterans are taking over the farms. They have never been in war. They are just Mugabeís tsotsis. (Beat) It is a long time, sometimes three, sometimes six months, before I see Hardship.

 

†††††††††††††††††††††† FX: DODGY ENGINE TICKING OVER.

 

REJOICE†††††† Have you got every thing packed?

 

ORCHARD††† Iíve got it all. Donít worry yourself.

 

REJOICE†††††† The clothes for Progress and the baby?

 

ORCHARD††† They are in the bags.

 

REJOICE†††††† And the shoes? Four pairs. For Naledi,Mandla, President, and Nicholas.

 

ORCHARD††† Iíve got them, Rejoice. Donít worry.

 

REJOICE†††††† And the money for Hardship. Donít even tell them about it at the border. Better just hide it and take it through and change in on the black market.

 

ORCHARD††† That is what I will do.

 

††††††††††††††††††††††† FX: HOOTER.

 

ORCHARD††† Come. Help me load this mielie-meal now. These guys wanted to leave two hours ago already.

 

††††††††††††††††††††††† FX: ROOF AMBIENCE.

 

SUSAN††††††††† (Impressed) Five children?

 

REJOICE†††††† Five!

 

SUSAN††††††††† And how many wives?

 

REJOICE†††††† This one, Hardship, she is my third wife.

 

SUSAN††††††††† All at once?

 

REJOICE†††††† No, not all at once. First, the mother of Progress. But unfortunately we were fighting and we were divorced. Then, two,the mother of Naledi. Then divorced again. Now this third one,Hardship,the mother of President and Mandla and Nicholas.

 

SUSAN††††††††† No divorce this time?

 

REJOICE†††††† No divorce. Not ever again. Hardship is a very beautiful lady. Very good and honest. And dressing nicely.Even like yourself.

 

SUSAN††††††††† Why, thank you, Rejoice.

 

REJOICE†††††† Every single thing that a man could wish for in a woman, Hardship has got. There is just the problem with the distance. (Beat) Thank you for the tools, Susan.

 

SUSAN††††††††† Thatís a pleasure. You just shout if you need anything.

 

††††††††††††††††††††††† FX: FADE ROOF. CD: KANIDIA KOUYATE - DONINKE.

 

ORCHARD††† All I have to do on the farm, where I lived with Rejoice,is to go and collect the cattle for milking. It is taking me thirty minutes. Two oíclock to half past two. Then I go back to sleep. In the morning I take them back at six oíclock. Then my work is finished. Iím paid for that and I donít pay anything myself. Even food, I donít pay anything. And I told that Mrs Wells that I want to go back to school. So, every day, two oíclock, she comes to me.She teach me maths, English. In fact I canít even say I wasnít in a school. I was in a private school with just me and Mrs Wells.

 

††††††††††††††††††††††† FX: HOUSE AMBIENCE. WARREN PREPARING SUPPER.

 

SUSAN††††††††† I told him I want him to do the bathroom.

 

WARREN††††† (Astonished) Rejoice?

 

SUSAN††††††††† Yes.

 

WARREN††††† Pass me the tomatoes.

 

SUSAN††††††††† His tiling is excellent. He did a great job for the Joneses.

 

WARREN††††† Ja, but plumbing! Plumbing is something else.

 

SUSAN††††††††† Rejoice knows what heís doing. (Beat) He was going to start on Sunday, but he has to go to the society again.

 

††††††††††††††††††††††† CD: KANIDIA KOUYATE Ė DONINKE

 

ORCHARD††† As the society policeman there are many things that I can tell you. For instance: It can get very hot that side. Maybe thirty, thirty-five degrees.Especially in the reserve areas. So you canít keep somebody for two weeks. One day is more than enough to keep somebody. If you arrive there maybe four oíclock in the morning, it means by ten oíclock everybody has seen the corpse. And then we bury that person. Because of the heat. So as to avoid more sickness to other people.

 

††††††††††††††††††††††† FX: BACK ROOM AMBIENCE. DOOR OPENING.

 

REJOICE†††††† When I think of you, itís like my heart is burning. I am on fire with desire.

 

HARMONY††† Rejoice! (Giggling) You are a mad person!

 

REJOICE†††††† It is you that makes me mad. This week I couldnít work because I was thinking of you. The roof nails were dropping from my hand.

 

HARMONY††† Rejoice you are meant to be at the Burial Society Meeting! Mketwa already left ten minutes ago.

 

REJOICE†††††† I know. I waited until he caught the taxi. What is wrong with the his motor vehicle?

 

HARMONY††† I donít know. He says maybe the carbuÖ something. All his money is wasting on that car. That is why he cannot buy me a fridge.

 

REJOICE†††††† Come my baby. Letís not talk about motor vehicles now. And fridges. How often do we get these chances.

 

HARMONY††† What if Mketwa comes back?

 

REJOICE†††††† He wonít.

 

HARMONY††† You will be late for the meeting.

 

REJOICE ††††† Not if we are fast. (Beat) Harmony is such a beautiful name. I lie in bed and I think of how soft you feel, and your name is like a tune that sings in my head.

 

HARMONY††† Oh Rejoice! I canít help myself when you touch me like that.

 

REJOICE†††††† I know that my baby.

 

HARMONY††† Oh Rejoice! Rejoice!

 

REJOICE†††††† Come my baby. Just let me come and say hello with you.

 

HARMONY††† Oh Rejoice, Rejoice, Rejoice.

 

††††††††††††††††††††††† FX: ROOF AMBIENCE. PLUS PASSING IBIS.

 

REJOICE†††††† The society is simple, really. Itís just the box and the transport that we are concerned with. Thatís all. Doesnít matter if itís Cape Town, doesnít matter if itís Gijaburu. (Beat) My brother, Orchard, he is the policeman. He is working out all the maths.

 

WARREN††††† The policeman?

 

REJOICE†††††† (Proud) He checks everything. The figures, whatever you want. He is making sure that the whole organization is running smoothly. If there is some discrepancy they will go to Orchard. Because of his ability with numbers.

 

††††††††††††††††††††††† FX: FADE ROOF.CD: KANIDIA KOUYATE - DONINKE.

 

ORCHARD††† It was when I was being taught by Mrs Wells that I discovered that maths is something which is just in my blood.Especially short algebras. When I went back to school I looked like a teacher.If thereís some sections that the students have jumped, the teacher would ask me what is wrong. I would say: ďno, from here, you were supposed to go this side. You must go third floor, second floor, first floor. You must make the whole journey. You cannot just fall to the ground.ĒYou see?

 

††††††††††††††††††††††† FX.TOWNSHIP STREET AMBIENCE.

 

REJOICE†††††† This is the place. Number 3279 Freedom street.

 

FX: FOOTSTEPS.THEY KNOCK ON THE DOOR. REJOICEHUMS TO HIMSELF AS THEY WAIT: ďCOME ALONG, COME TO KISS ME, BEFORE IíM GOINGÖĒ

 

FX: DOOR OPENS.

WOMAN††††††† Hello?

 

REJOICE†††††† Hello, Mama. Are you Mrs Matabane?

 

WOMAN††††††† (SeSotho) Yes.

 

REJOICE†††††† I am Rejoice Iqudu, co-president of the Imvula Burial Society.

 

WOMAN††††††††††††††††††† (SeSotho) What you want here?

 

ORCHARD††† And I am Orchard Iqudu, the policeman of the Imvula Burial Society.

 

WOMAN††††††† Eish.

 

REJOICE†††††† My sister, unfortunately we must investigate some claims concerning your husband.

 

ORCHARD††† You claimed money to bury Mr Matabane in Thaba NíChu when some of our members saw you burying him right here in Johannesburg. So all these expenses: petrol, R512;17,phone calls R16.39, meat: R451.00, other refreshments: R319.85. All these things you have written down, and claimed, are not good mathematics.

 

REJOICE†††††† In fact, Mrs Matabane,many of them are just plain lies.

 

WOMAN††††††† (SeSotho) Have pity. Have pity. (Begins to cry)

 

††††††††††††††††††††††† CD: ORCHARDíS MUSIC.

 

ORCHARD††† The thing which is most strange is that finally I failed maths. And the ones I was teaching, they passed.I got a C instead of an A. Even though I was a teacher there. (Long beat) Maths is something which can just turn you around like this!

 

††††††††††††††††††††††† FX: HOUSE AMBIENCE.

 

SUSAN††††††††† Itís not funny, Warren.

 

WARREN††††† Isnít it?

 

SUSAN††††††††† You canít get ground maize in Zimbabwe. You canít get flour. You canít get oil. Theyíre desperate. And the Aids statistics are probably worse than they are here.

 

WARREN††††† Ag statistics!

 

SUSAN††††††††† You think the numbers arenít true?

 

WARREN††††† Where are they?All these dying people? Our population has risen by ten percent since 1996!

 

SUSAN††††††††† They test positive and then they get sent home. The doctors write TB on the death certificate. TB or malaria or pneumonia. (Beat) Thereís horrific denial going on in this country and you are part of it.

 

††††††††††††††††††††††† CD: KANIDIA KOUYATE - DONINKE.

 

ORCHARD††† The loss of his job on the farm was not the fault of Rejoice.Mrs Wells left. She took all those people that were working there and went to another farm. But it didnít help. The war veterans came and that was it. Finished. So everybody have to know where to go. Rejoice went back to Imvula. I came this side. I came here before Rejoice did. I was the last born, but I was the first to come to Johannesburg.

††††††††††††††††††††††† FX: BACK ROOM. REJOICE IS MAKING TEA.

 

CLIFF†††††††††††† That little one of yours, Nicolas, was so excited with his new shoes. All day he was just chasing the dog. He said he could run faster because of the shoes.

 

REJOICE†††††† It is my great wish that I could also have travelled home this time.

 

CLIFF †††††††††††††††††††††† How was the work here?

 

REJOICE†††††† Just the one gardening job. Tuesday and Thursday. On the weekends fixing the bathroom here in the house.

 

CLIFF†††††††††††† Did you manage to put in the toilet?

 

REJOICE†††††† There have been some few problems. Nothing that you can worry about too much. But when you add it with the box in the garageÖ

 

CLIFF†††††††††††† (Astonished) You have put a coffin in the garage?

 

REJOICE†††††† Mketwa was paying two hundred rand a month for that other place. This is for free. And we save some of that storage money for other purposes.

 

CLIFF†††††††††††† But Susan and Warren wonít like that, Rejoice. They wonít be satisfied, really.

 

REJOICE†††††† (Angry) What do you know? You havenít even met them! They donít even know that you have lost your place and you are staying here!

 

††††††††††††††††††††††† CD: KANIDIA KOUYATE - DONINKE.

 

ORCHARD††† The thing which pushed me to come to South Africa is a girl. We did a mistake. She was a school kid and I was a school kid and we did a mistake. So because of that, she was expelled from her home for good and I have to marry her forcibly. But we loved each other. So there was no problem. My father was already ailing at that time. I talked to him about the situation. He said: ďBecause you are not working, where will you get the money?Ē I said: ďDonít worry. Iím going. Iíve finished schooling. What I have to do, I have to see for myself.ĒAnd that was when I came this side.

 

††††††††††††††††††††††† FX: BATHROOM. TOOLS PACKED AWAY.

 

REJOICE†††††† Itís looking good now. Tomorrow I will do the grouting. When does Warren come back?

 

SUSAN††††††††† Next week, Tuesday. You think we going to be finished by then?

 

REJOICE†††††† Yes, weíll be finished. Just if this new toilet bowl is still leaking there might be a problem.

 

††††††††††††††††††††††† FX: GARDEN AMBIENCE. CAR ENGINE.

 

WARREN††††† (Irritated) Some what?

 

REJOICE†††††† Silicone.Just the normal one for the bathroom. The one that is stopping the leaks. Otherwise I must take that bowl out again and put in the new connection. And that is quite a big operation because you have to break away the cement of the floor.

 

WARREN††††† You put the bowl too close to the wall, Rejoice. The seat wonít stay up.

 

REJOICE†††††† Just maybe an inch or two. I did a mistake. But Iím very much hoping that silicone will heal everything.

 

WARREN††††† Silicon wonít keep the seat up! (Beat) And thereís a coffin in the garage! Why is there a coffin in my garage, Rejoice?

 

REJOICE†††††† Iím sorry, Warren. Itís that Mketwa. I explained everything with Susan. (Beat) Just that bit of silicone. Then I can be finished.

 

WARREN††††† (Sighs) Look, Iíve got a very busy day, but Iíll see what I can do.

 

††††††††††††††††††††††† FX: CAR PULLS OFF.

 

REJOICE†††††† (Shouting) And some two by fours for the garage ceiling. And some nails. Please Warren.

 

††††††††††††††††††††††† FX: HOUSE AMBIENCE. SUPPER.

 

WARREN††††† I knew that the plumbing would be beyond him.

 

SUSAN††††††††† Heíll fix it. Donít worry.

 

WARREN††††† And the coffin?

 

SUSAN††††††††† Itís just temporary. Just a couple of weeks. He was so worried that youíd be cross about it and I promised him it was fine. Please donít give him a hard time.

 

††††††††††††††††††††††† CD: KANIDIA KOUYATE - DONINKE

 

ORCHARD††† Me and that girl, we were not financially secure. But thanks to God,Rejoice was working again. He was what-you-call-it. Inseminating. This was in 1986. So the first time Rejoice was paid, he went to pay damages to the parents of the girl. Not big damages. They charged me just one cow. It was sixty dollars at the time. The price was quite low, really, because the girl wasnít pregnant. I was the first to take a wife in the family. I said to Rejoice: you see this person. She is here to help everybody. And I liked her because she helped my father. Sometimes my father would justÖ go over himself. The eyes werenít seeing. The feets were swollen. He couldnít walk. She had to take his clothes. Wash them clean.And give them back to him clean.

 

††††††††††††††††††††††† FX: HOUSE AMBIENCE.

 

SUSAN††††††††† (Beat) Damages toÖ what?

 

WARREN††††† To herÖ tackle.

 

SUSAN††††††††† (Beat) You mean heÖ he hurt her?

 

WARREN††††† No, no. No, no. Itís just what they call it, you know.Breaking the virginity.

 

SUSAN††††††††† (Dry) Them.

 

WARREN††††† Yes. They call it damages.

 

††††††††††††††††††††††† FX: BACK ROOM AMBIENCE.REJOICE AND HARMONY HAVE JUST MADE LOVE.

 

REJOICE†††††† Why do you have to make such a noise. Itís like you want to wake the whole city.

 

HARMONY††† I donít care if I wake them up. You make me feel so good. You are so strong and big down there.Just like Mketwa.

 

REJOICE†††††† Eish. How can you talk about Mketwa at a time like this?

 

HARMONY††† It was him that bought me the fridge.

 

REJOICE†††††† Only because he sold that rubbish motor vehicle. And sometimes he buys cheap boxes and takes the extra money for himself. The guys are watching him, Harmony. He wonít be co-president much longer, I can tell you.

 

HARMONY††† He treats me very nicely, Rejoice. That fridge has even got automatic ice.

 

REJOICE†††††† (Beat) Where is he?

 

HARMONY††† He wonít be back for a long time He went to see the Sangoma in Pietersburg.

 

REJOICE†††††† In Petersburg? What for?

 

HARMONY††† I donít know. (Beat) I think maybe he was stroked.

 

REJOICE†††††† Serious?

 

HARMONY††† Yes.Just a little bit. The side of his face here. Itís not moving.

 

REJOICE†††††† Vocabulary stroke?

 

HARMONY††† No, heís still talking.

 

REJOICE†††††† Eish. (Beat) I must go. Where are those trousers of mine that you mended?

 

HARMONY††† I donít know.

 

REJOICE†††††† You donít know?

 

HARMONY†† No.

 

REJOICE††††† Where are my trousers, Harmony?

 

HARMONY††† (Beat) They are with Mketwa.

 

REJOICE†††††† Why has he got them?

 

HARMONY††† He found them!I could not tell him they were yours!

 

REJOICE†††††† They are pure wool, those trousers.

 

HARMONY†† I told him I bought them for him.

 

REJOICE††††† They come from Naidooís Indian second hand in Elof Street!

 

HARMONY††† What was I meant to do, Rejoice? He found them here in the room!

 

††††††††††††††††††††††† FX: GARDEN AMBIENCE.

 

WARREN††††† Rejoice we have to talk about this. I really donít understand why I have to have a coffin in my garage.

 

REJOICE†††††† (Regretful) It was Mketwaís idea that we have some few boxes.

 

WARREN††††† For the burial society?

 

REJOICE†††††† Yes. Just on stand by. Because the TB is hitting the guys. TB and the pneumonia. And it is better if we can just buy when the price is right. But storage is where the problem comes. So Mketwa arranged for the storage. He found ashed there in Alexandria township. But now that shed has burnt down. That is why it becomes very necessary to store just this single coffin here with you.

 

WARREN††††† Rejoice, Iím really not too happy about this. I have to be honest with you.

 

††††††††††††††††††††††† FX: A FRIENDLY HAND ON WOOD.

 

REJOICE†††††† I have arranged it so it takes up very little space.It is just temporary, really. I can even maybe cover it with some plastics so nobody can notice.

 

WARREN††††† (Beat) How long is temporary, Rejoice?

 

REJOICE†††††† Maybe just one week. MaybeÖ two. Just a short time.Serious.

 

††††††††††††††††††††††† FX: KITCHEN AMBIENCE.

 

WARREN††††† (Beat) Iím sorry but sometimes you have to learn to say: no. Sometimes no is the best option.

 

SUSAN††††††††† Weíre helping him, Warren.For heavenís sake! What harm can it possibly do to you to have a coffin in the garage?

 

WARREN††††† Give them an inch and theyíll take a mile.

 

SUSAN††††††††† Oh nonsense.

 

WARREN††††† Weíll end up with a garage full of coffins!

 

SUSAN††††††††† And a house that isnít falling apart at the seams.

 

†††††††††††††††††††††† FX: CEMENT IS SMOOTHED WITH A TROWEL.

 

REJOICE†††††† This is the first time I have ever fitted a toilet bowl. (Apologetic) It was just two inches too close.

 

WARREN††††† I knew youíd never seal it with silicone.

 

REJOICE†††††† Iím sorry. I did a mistake. Just a couple of inches. But Iíve fixed it now. We can even test. Look.

 

††††††††††††††††††††††† FX: TOILET FLUSHES.

 

REJOICE†††††† (Proud) Nothing. Itís dry, dry, like a drought.

 

††††††††††††††††††††††† CD ORCHARDíS MUSIC.

 

ORCHARD††† Our father, Joseph Iqudu, died a clean man on November 7, 1989.I was working here in Johannesburg by the Belem Shopping Centre.I was cleaning at the Sizzling Gourmet Grill. That was my first job in South Africa. They would not allow me to go home for the burial. In fact I had only been working two weeks. Which they said was too soon to take leave.But in 1990 I went home.And I found that everything was done properly by Rejoice, all the ceremonies, and I could go and speak to my father with no problems at all. After just a few ceremonies I found I was able to communicate with him perfectly.

 

††††††††††††††††††††††† FX: GARAGE. SUSAN AND REJOICE ARE TAKING A COFFIN OUT.

 

REJOICE†††††† Iím sorry for this, really. We can just put it down here. There is Orchard and some other guys waiting to help. If I can just ask them to come in.

 

SUSAN††††††††† Of course you can. (Beat) Itís not someone in your family is it?

 

REJOICE†††††† No, thank you, Susan. (Beat) It is Mketwa.

 

SUSAN††††††††† Mketwa died?

 

REJOICE†††††† RegretfullyÖ this what happened.

 

††††††††††††††††††††††† FX:KNUCKLES TAPPING WOOD.

 

REJOICE†††††† (Continuing) Mketwa is going home in this very box.

 

SUSAN††††††††† (Beat) What did he die off?

 

REJOICE†††††† (Grave) First the stroke, then pneumonia.

 

SUSAN††††††††† ButÖ how old was he?

 

REJOICE†††††† MaybeÖ forty something years.

 

SUSAN††††††††† Pneumonia is curable.

 

REJOICE†††††† Yes, Susan.

 

SUSAN††††††††† How long was he sick for?

 

REJOICE†††††† Just a few weeks. (Beat; checking the deal) Mketwaís family will replace this coffin.I even spoke to him on the phone before he died.†† He promised me that we will get another one, same, same. (Beat) So it wonít take up any more space than this one.

 

SUSAN††††††††† SoÖ you want to keep it here? The replacement? Thatís what youíre saying?

 

REJOICE†††††† Yes please, Susan.Now I am the sole president of the society the guys expect me to just arrange everything.

 

SUSAN††††††††† Rejoice, thatís fine. Of course you can keep it here.

 

REJOICE†††††† Thank you. I hope Warren will not be getting angry.

 

SUSAN††††††††† Donít you worry about Warren.

 

††††††††††††††††††††††† CD: KANIDIA KOUYATE - DONINKE.

 

ORCHARD††† We are not like European people. When we die, we go to join our ancestors. We sit down with them and we talk. I, myself,Orchard Iqudu, will join the assembly of the ancestors. When that times comes, there will be cows grazing on the green field above Imvula dam. The trees in the Orchard will be hanging with bright fruit. There will be children laughing. The men that are left from our family, the Iqudus, will the put the juice from the gall of the ox on their bodies. That gall tastes very bitter to living people. But to dead people, it is very nice. And that sweet smellwill bring me and Rejoice back to the world. (Beat) In these things, we are not like European people.

 

††††††††††††††††††††††† FX: GARAGE. REJOICE AND WARREN ARE PUTTING THE NEW COFFIN IN.

 

REJOICE†††††† I will just put this cloth over so you are not worried by the sight of it when you are going to work in the morning.

 

WARREN††††† My morning wasnít the same while I couldnít touch wood on a coffin. (Beat) What did you go up in?

 

REJOICE†††††† A combi.

 

WARREN††††† With Mketwa inside?

 

REJOICE†††††† No. Mketwa travelled in the trailer. Eish, but the border is terrible these days. The queue is ten kilometres! You have to wait, maybe, for another whole day.

 

WARREN††††† Ouch.

 

REJOICE†††††† But luckily our driver knew what he has to do. He took all our passports and goes straight inside. He told them: ďno, Iíve got a dead person.Ē They let us pass.

 

WARREN††††† And the funeral? Did it go okay?

 

REJOICE†††††† It was good. (Regretful beat) Butthat Mketwa was just the same as ever. I was looking at the trousers he was wearing.

 

WARREN††††† His trousers?

 

REJOICE†††††† I was just regretting a little bit because he got thosetrousers from me.

 

WARREN††††† Oh.

 

REJOICE†††††† The only reason he had them was because of a terrible misunderstanding. (Beat) Then I saw, eish Warren, down here, Mketwa was stiff like a pole.

 

WARREN††††† True?

 

REJOICE†††††† Harmony says that Mketwa can never change. Even now that he has gone to join the ancestors.

††††††††††††††††††††††† FX: HOUSE AMBIENCE.

 

WARREN††††† (Beat) Whatís he like? Orchard?

 

SUSAN††††††††† Heís nice.

 

WARREN††††† If heís going to be living with us, I sincerely hope so.

 

SUSAN††††††††† Donít worry about it. (Beat)Heís tall andÖ Idonít know. Serious. I think heís quite bright.

 

WARREN††††† Has he got a job?

 

SUSAN††††††††† Yes.

 

WARREN††††† There isnít space for two people in that room. (Beat) You know theyíre keeping trailers behind the garage now?

 

SUSAN††††††††† Theyíve got nowhere else to keep them. And how else are they going to send food home?

 

††††††††††††††††††††††† FX: SAWING. IT STOPS. CLATTER OF THE END PIECE HITTING CEMENT.

 

REJOICE†††††† I spoke on the phone. They are all well.

 

SUSAN††††††††† Progressís baby?

 

REJOICE†††††† He is better now. It was justflu.

 

SUSAN††††††††† Good. And your little one? Nicholas?

 

REJOICE†††††† (Proud) Susan, he is a warrior. I have got a small brown dog at the house there. Hardship says that Nicholas runs the whole day after the dog. It is his best friend. Hardship had to make him take off his shoes. Otherwise in one month he wears them finished.

 

SUSAN††††††††† Are you going to go up for Christmas?

 

REJOICE†††††† Yes, Iím going.

 

SUSAN††††††††† Iíll give you some things to take. For Hardship and the children.

 

REJOICE†††††† Thank you, Susan. They would like that, really.

 

††††††††††††††††††††††† CD: KANIDIA KOUYATE - DONINKE.

 

ORCHARD††† The most important thing in our culture is the kids. We donít worry much about grown-ups. We worry about the future of the kids.In our culture, if you can look at it, you say: these people are returning back. People die, but then later they return. And in fact you can see it with your own eyes.Because this person resembles so and so that was dead a long time ago.

 

††††††††††††††††††††††† FX: HOUSE AMBIENCE.

 

††††††††††††††††††††††† PLUS CD UNDER: SALALA Ė LANITRA MANGA MANGA.

 

WARREN††††† People are dying, Susan.

 

SUSAN††††††††† I know.

 

WARREN††††† I never believed the figures, but everyone I know knows someone who is dying.

 

SUSAN††††††††† This is just the first wave.

 

††††††††††††††††††††††† FX: NIGHT GARDEN CRICKETS ETC. PLUS AGED CAR ENGINE.

 

WARREN††††† How many of you going in that car?

 

REJOICE†††††† I think there are six of us. Maybe seven.

 

SUSAN††††††††† Have you got a good driver? The roads are awful at this time of year.

 

REJOICE†††††† No, he is a good driver. Very good. Very careful. Not going too fast.

 

SUSAN††††††††† Have you packed the presents for the kids?

 

REJOICE†††††† They are all there inside. Thank you, Susan.

 

SUSAN††††††††† Here are blankets that the Joneses dropped of for you. And some extra ones from us.

 

REJOICE†††††† Thank you.

 

WARREN††††† You have a great holiday, Rejoice.

 

SUSAN††††††††† And a good Christmas. Weíll see you after new year.

 

REJOICE†††††† Good bye.

 

WARREN††††† Good bye.

 

SUSAN††††††††† Good bye. And drive carefully!

 

REJOICE†††††† Yes, we will.

 

††††††††††††††††††††††† FX: DOOR SLAM. OLD CAR PULLS OFF.

 

††††††††††††††††††††††† FX: BEDROOM AMBIENCE. PLUS FIRE WORKS. THE OPENING BANGS COULD BE RIFLE FIRE.

 

WARREN††††† (Waking) What the hell is that?

 

SUSAN††††††††† Fire works. (Laughs)Itís new yearís eve.

 

WARREN††††† Holy cow. I thought it was the revolution all over again. (Beat)When did I drop off?

 

SUSAN††††††††† About half an hour ago. Happy new year.

 

WARREN††††† Itís been a good one.

 

SUSAN††††††††† I know. It has. (Beat; snuggles)Iím glad we got the house done.

 

WARREN††††† Well, you were right. I couldnít have done it.

 

SUSAN††††††††† Yes. (Beat) You know Rejoice is moving out.

 

WARREN††††† No.

 

SUSAN††††††††† He said you were right. There isnít space for two people in that room. And some people he gardens for have offered him a place.

 

WARREN††††† So itís just Orchard now.

 

SUSAN††††††††† Ja.Heís going to do one morning a week in the garden.

 

WARREN††††† (Beat) And we still get to store the coffins and the trailers.

 

SUSAN††††††††† I suppose so. (Beat) Come here.

 

WARREN††††† Should I get a condom?

 

SUSAN††††††††† No. Come. Come here.

 

††††††††††††††††††††††† CD: KANIDIA KOUYATE - DONINKE.

 

ORCHARD††† It was when the farming got too bad that Rejoice moved to Johannesburg. This was in 1992.Rejoice is a hard working man, and very soon he was getting jobs.So then there was me and Rejoice, and every month we were sending food and money to the family at Imvula. To my mother and to Rejoiceís children. And, that side, if you can count every single one, there are twenty-seven people who are depending on us.

 

††††††††††††††††††††††† FX: GARAGE AMBIENCE. WE HEAR REJOICE LAUGHING. WE HEAR SUSANíS FOOTSTEPS. THERE IS SOMETHING VERY ALARMING IN THE LAUGHTER.

 

SUSAN††††††††† Rejoice? Rejoice? Is that you? (Astonished beat) What are you doing?

 

REJOICE†††††† (Laughs) Iím just testing, Susan.Just so I can know for sure what is happening. You can never know with these people.

 

SUSAN††††††††† Testing what?Why are you lying in there?

 

REJOICE†††††† Eish. (Fightingtears) That Mketwa.

 

SUSAN††††††††† Rejoice pleaseÖ whatís wrong? Why are you lying in the coffin?

 

REJOICE†††††† Those bastards. Those dunderheads. They have stolen everything.

 

SUSAN††††††††† What? Stolen what?

 

REJOICE†††††† They have taken everything from me. Every last thing. They have broken everything. Even my feet. Even the simplest thing no longer works. The water cannot flow positively. They have told me that I am finished and everything is gone.Those Dunderheads.

 

SUSAN††††††††† Who?I donít understand what youíre talking about.

 

REJOICE†††††† Susan, my feet are burning.I cannot sleep.I lie with my feet on fire. The whole night I lie awake and the sheets are wet with my sweat.All through the night it is as if I am walking in fire. Even if I put my feet in cold water, I am walking in the fire.

 

SUSAN††††††††† Rejoice get out of there, please. Let me help you!

 

REJOICE†††††† No! All my life I have been saying: I must rejoice! It doesnít matter if the child is too thin. I must rejoice. It doesnít matter if I cannot go home to see my wife. I must rejoice.It doesnít matter if the cow has no milk. I must rejoice.It doesnít matter that a man who works hard cannot find a job in his own county. I must rejoice. It doesnít matter that the money is stolen at the border. I must rejoice. It doesnít matter that the farms are broken. I must rejoice.It doesnít matter that the war veterans are just murderers. I must rejoice. It doesnít matter that the bags are broken and the mielie-meal is spilt with the milk on the ground. I must rejoice. The cow is dead. I must rejoice. My feet are burning. I must rejoice. I cannot walk. I must say thank you. I must rejoice. I must rejoice. I must rejoice.

 

††††††††††††††††††††††† HE IS WEEPING NOW.

 

SUSAN††††††††† Rejoice, come. Please. Let me help you out of there

 

REJOICE†††††† Mketwa left this box for me. (Beat)But itís too short. That guy is always stealing the last laugh. First my trousers, now this!(Laugh/cry) I will have to take my last journey with my knees bent up. He has forced to lie in my own box with my knees bent up like a bicycle rider. They want my whole family to be just like a joke.

 

SUSAN††††††††† Rejoice, calm down. Youíre not making any sense.

 

REJOICE†††††† Iím sorry. (Beat) I went to the hospital for testing. They told me that I am positive.

 

††††††††††††††††††††††† CD: SALALA Ė LANITRA MANGA MANGA. HOLD UNDER.

††††††††††††††††††††††† FX: HOUSE AMBIENCE.

 

WARREN††††† Positive?

 

SUSAN††††††††† That was the word he used. (Beat) But WarrenÖ he umÖIíve never heard him talk like that. (Fights tears) I think it might be dementia. I thinkÖ I think the truth isÖ heís got full blown Aids.

 

CD: KANIDIA KOUYATE - DONINKE

 

ORCHARD††† Many people do not know why Rejoice got sick. They can find it hard to understand what happened. (Beat) You see in our area, if you try to make something, people are not happy. From the death of my father, Joseph Iqudu, our neighbours thought our family would be like a circus where people can laugh whenever they like. But they didnít find that.They found that everything is under respect.

 

††††††††††††††††††††††† FX: BEDROOM AMBIENCE.

 

WARREN††††† I think we should get out of here.

 

SUSAN††††††††† And go where? Warren, people from all over Africa flock here because thereís work, medicine, food.If you can pay for it thereís even anti-retrovirals.

 

WARREN††††† In Sweden there are fifty people who are HIV positive and the health department knows exactly who they are. (Silence) I justÖ I think we should start a family. And I think we should do it somewhere else.

 

††††††††††††††††††††††† CD: KANIDIA KOUYATE - DONINKE.

 

ORCHARD††† The time Rejoice got sick, I was also sick.When he moved from Susan and Warrenís house, I couldnít visit him at first.When I did visit him there, I found thathe could not swallow one thing. His feets were swollen. He could not walk. Thatís when I said, ďBrother,go home. Be nearer to your kids. Talk to your kids. Before you die. Because I can see thereís nothing I can do.Ē(Beat) It was already too late to tell him what I knew about the neighbours. In fact I was too stressed to tell him that those very same neighbours were making me sick also.

 

††††††††††††††††††††††† FX: BACK ROOM AMBIENCE.

 

ORCHARD††† PerhapsÖ I can make you a little tea.

 

REJOICE†††††† Thank you. It doesnít matter.

 

ORCHARD††† You must drink something.

 

REJOICE†††††† I had some milk. These other things are hurting my mouth.

 

ORCHARD††† You cannot live if you do not eat and drink.

 

REJOICE ††††† Yes. (Beat) It will come to you, my brother.

 

ORCHARD††† What? What are you talking?

 

REJOICE†††††† When I am dead there will only be you. For all the family at Imvula.

 

ORCHARD††† Rejoice, go home. Go to Imvula. Go and drink the water from the well. That is the sweetest water. And eat the fish from the dam. And, in a short time, you will be getting better. You will see.

 

REJOICE†††††† No. I must stay here. I must see if I can find a work. Maybe something in a vegetable garden. Something where I donít have to stand.

 

††††††††††††††††††††††† CD: KANIDIA KOUYATE - DONINKE.

 

ORCHARD††† Rejoice said to me: ďMy brother, I am HIV positive.ĒBut, because of my African beliefs, I already knew that.You see, I had a dream. In this dream, I went back once more and looked into the well in the orchard at Imvula. The moon was very big straight above and the water was like a mirror. But I did not see myself in that mirror. Just like it was when I was a small child, I saw Rejoice.And where his legs ended, was just flames. (Beat)Because of that dream I went to a Sangoma,a traditional healer. And he told me I was supposed to die also.

 

††††††††††††††††††††††† FX: HOUSE AMBIENCE.

 

SUSAN††††††††† You know the what the difference is? Between here and New Zealand and Australia.

 

WARREN††††† What?

 

SUSAN††††††††† In those places the original inhabitants have been wiped out.And if there are any left, theyíre derelict.

 

WARREN††††† Half the people are derelict here also. More than half.

 

SUSAN††††††††† There are historical reasons for that.

 

WARREN††††† You sound like the government.

 

SUSAN††††††††† Warren, Africans are the government here. The Aborigines arenít the government in Australia.

 

WARREN††††† So?

 

SUSAN††††††††† Your idea of some safe European middle-class super-clean haven is bullshit. The twin towers are down. There is no centre of civilisation and democracy. And thereís no axis of evil. Thereís just us.South Africa is as good as it gets.

 

††††††††††††††††††††††† CD: SALALA Ė LANITRA MANGA MANGA. WE ARE IN A FLASH BACK.

 

††††††††††††††††††††††† FX: ROOF AMBIENCE: PAINT BEING LAID ON.

 

REJOICE†††††† In Johannesburg, if a man wants to work, then the work is there. People are building their houses. Portuguese, Indian, SeSotho, it doesnít matter.Even if they speaking a hundred different languages, every single one is working. Every single one is making his roof better. Even that man who has just one piece of zinc and a plastic, he is working to improve it.

 

††††††††††††††††††††††† FX: HOUSE AMBIENCE.

 

††††††††††††††††††††††† CD:KANDIA KOUYATE Ė DONNIE.

 

ORCHARD††† You see with this bewitchmentÖ I have a very good example. Because the Sangoma told me what was happening to Rejoiceís dog. (Beat) The Sangoma doesnít know Imvula. But he knows what is happening there. He told me the dog was sick.(Beat) When I went to Imvula, it was just like that traditional healer said. The dog was sick. The feets were swollen. It could not even eat. (Beat) First the dogÖ then Rejoice.

 

††††††††††††††††††††††† FX: HOUSE AMBIENCE.

 

WARREN††††† Is he working?

 

SUSAN††††††††† He canít.

 

WARREN††††† So whatís he going to do?

 

SUSAN††††††††† I donít know. (Beat) I think you must take him to Doctor Flismas.

 

CD: KANIDIA KOUYATE - DONINKE

 

ORCHARD††† When I realized it was getting too serious, I went to the burial society. I told them: ďplease, can you come and see your President?Ē They sent me about four people. Then, including relatives, I found there were about eleven people gathered there. I didnít say any word.And Rejoice said:

 

REJOICE†††††† I am going home.

 

ORCHARD††† He gave the society two days. And they accepted because he was the President. I said: ďMy brother, you can see, I am also sick. I would have liked to go with you. But I donít think it can be a good idea.Ē

 

††††††††††††††††††††††† FX: HOUSE AMBIENCE.

 

SUSAN††††††††† Whenís he leaving.

 

WARREN††††† Tomorrow. (Beat) Flismas says every single symptom Rejoice has got is treatable. The thrush in his mouth, the chest thing. Itís all treatable. And for something in the region of eight hundred rand a month we could put him on anti-retrovirals. If we can find that, we can keep him alive.

 

††††††††††††††††††††††† CD: SALALA Ė LANITRA MANGA MANGA.

 

††††††††††††††††††††††† FX: FOOTSTEPS. CAR DOOR.

 

REJOICE†††††† (Beat) It will be better at home.

 

WARREN††††† You wonít get treatment there.

 

REJOICE†††††† Just to see my kids and my wife.

 

WARREN††††† But Rejoice, you can get treated here. Flismas is a great doctor. Iíve head him speaking on the radio about aids. Donít worry about the money. We can make a plan. Weíll talk to the Joneses. We can all chip in.

 

REJOICE†††††† Thank you, Warren.

 

WARREN††††† Think about it.

 

REJOICE†††††† It is better if I go home.

 

WARREN††††† RejoiceÖ

REJOICE†††††† Warren, the roof keeps the rain from falling on your head. Just remember that one thing.

 

WARREN††††† (Beat) Yes.

 

REJOICE†††††† You must paint before the rust is coming.Once the rust comes you can say that roof is finished. You must know how the water is flowing in the gutters, all this things. That is what I am telling Orchard.

 

††††††††††††††††††††††† CD: KANIDIA KOUYATE - DONINKE

 

ORCHARD††† I listen on the radio. I watch on the TV. ďBe wise, condomize.Ē I agree with that. Because this Aids sickness is a dangerous thing. It is like short algebras. You never know which way it will come.

 

††††††††††††††††††††††† FX: HOUSE AMBIENCE.

 

WARREN††††† Itís not just a relationship. Itís a decision to grow a family. Of course Iíll change nappies. What do you take me for? (Beat) Will you think about it? While Iím gone.

 

SUSAN††††††††† IíllÖ I donít knowÖ

 

WARREN††††† Iím going to miss you.

 

SUSAN††††††††† Iíll miss you too.

 

WARREN††††† Orchard said heíd keep an eye on things here. Keep everything safe.

 

SUSAN††††††††† Yes. (Beat) Has he heard from Rejoice?

 

WARREN††††† No.

 

††††††††††††††††††††††† CD: KANIDIA KOUYATE - DONINKE.

 

ORCHARD††† When a manís brother dies, if the wife has what we call heritageÖ you have to inherit that wife. This is not a forced matter. After we have finished with the burial and all the ceremonies, that woman, the widow, must be very quiet. We treat her like the antelope, the Iqudu. It takes at least another three, four months before it becomes possible to normalize the situation. Especially if itís a young female. Then weíll do everything necessary to free her as quickly as possible. We will perform all the ceremonies. And by so freeing her, she can choose. Is she going, or is she staying?

 

††††††††††††††††††††††† FXCAR ARRIVING. STOPS. DOOR CLOSED. FOOTSTEPS.

 

WARREN††††† Hello.

 

SUSAN††††††††† Hi.

 

WARREN††††† Looking at the moon?

 

SUSAN††††††††† Mm.

 

WARREN††††† Isnít it stunning?

 

SUSAN††††††††† Like a silver dollar.

 

††††††††††††††††††††††† SHE TAKES A BREATH, BUT CANíT TALK.

 

WARREN††††† Susan, what?

 

SUSAN††††††††† I uhÖ

 

WARREN††††† What?

 

SUSAN††††††††† Warren, thereís two things.

 

WARREN††††† Ja?

 

SUSAN††††††††† Iím pregnant.

 

WARREN††††† Holy cow.

 

SUSAN††††††††† Yes.

 

WARREN††††† When did you find out?

 

SUSAN††††††††† Two weeks ago.I didnít want to tell you on the phone.

 

WARREN††††† Of course.

 

SUSAN††††††††† Warren, we going to have to decide whetherÖ weíre going to stay orÖ

 

WARREN††††† Yes. (Beat) Whatís the second one.

 

SUSAN††††††††† Rejoice is back.

 

WARREN††††† No! Where?

 

SUSAN††††††††† Heís inside. With Orchard. (Beat) He says he wants to help you do another coat on the roof.

 

WARREN††††† ButÖ

 

SUSAN††††††††† He heard about some special sealant on the radio. He says itís has a fifteen year guarantee. He wants Orchard to help so he can teach him how to do stuff with his hands. He says Orchard doesnít know how to do stuff with his hands.

 

FX: HOUSE AMBIENCE.

 

REJOICE†††††† Listen to me. I donít want tea. I need something else. Orchard, canítyou understand what I am looking for?

 

ORCHARD††† No.

 

REJOICE†††††† I want a house that is clean and dry. I want to know that Hardship is safe. I want to know that Nicholas is warm in his bed. I want to know that there are strong men there that can keep the war veterans away. I want to know that the money is flowing positively.

 

ORCHARD††† What are you talking?

 

REJOICE†††††† You never learnt this things!

 

ORCHARD††† What things?

 

REJOICE†††††† You get lost in the water storage. Itís too deep that one. I want you to look after them. I want you to think about the roof. You must keep the rain off these people Orchard.You must console them.

 

ORCHARD††† Eish, Rejoice.

 

REJOICE†††††† You must learnÖ

 

ORCHARD††† What?

 

REJOICE†††††† You must take a bucket of water up to the roof. You must check that the money is flowing positively.

 

††††††††††††††††††††††† FX:EXTERIOR NIGHT.

 

SUSAN††††††††† He might be sleeping now. I made a bed up for him spare room. I donít know where he should be. Maybe he should beÖ in hospital orÖ

 

WARREN††††† Why isnít he with Hardship?

 

SUSAN††††††††† He said heÖ he drank the water from the well and he felt better.

 

WARREN††††† From the well?

 

SUSAN††††††††† I think so. He jumbles things up.

 

WARREN††††† What do you want me to do?

 

SUSAN††††††††† I donít know. JustÖ just go in and see him.Talk to him. He so wants to see you.

 

WARREN††††† Have you spoken to Orchard?

 

SUSAN††††††††† Yes. (Beat) Orchard canít look after him in that tiny room. You know that. (Beat) He thinks the same as you. He thinks he should be back with Hardship.

 

WARREN††††† (Beat) Okay.

 

††††††††††††††††††††††† FX: HE RISES, OPENS THE DOOR.

 

SUSAN††††††††† Warren?

 

WARREN††††† Ja?

 

SUSAN††††††††† Be gentle.

 

WARREN††††† Yes.

 

††††††††††††††††††††††† CD: KANIDIA KOUYATE - DONINKE.

 

ORCHARD††† I think that if you are approved HIV positive,you must try to be out of things like beer, cigarettes. Anything which can destroy your blood. I wish each and every one, every six moths, must go and check for Aids. Just like that. But I think if you are a happy guy with happy people, you can live longer. I would like each and every one to bear that in mind. Because once you think of that HIV/Aids, you are likely to be stroked. The stroke comes first. If itís a vocabulary stroke, you will die the same time.Heart attack.

 

††††††††††††††††††††††† FX: DOOR. FOOTSTEPS. HE SITS NEXT TO HER. SILENCE.

 

SUSAN††††††††† So?

 

WARREN††††† He umÖ

 

SUSAN††††††††† Do you think we should take him to hospital?

 

WARREN††††† Rejoice is dead.

 

††††††††††††††††††††††† CD: MUSIC

 

ORCHARD††† Rejoice was buried at Imvula on the 28th of March, 2003.There were many people there. There were even fifteen from the Society which travelled from Johannesburg. The journey was good and there was no problem with the heat. (Beat) Those children, Progress and Joseph and Naledi and President and Mandla and Nicholas, they come to me. Their mother, Hardship, is now my wife. I love her very much. I love them all. But the payment is on my shoulders. I am the small father. In Zulu they say:Baíncane. Little father. So whatever they might need, I must provide . It is I, Orchard Iqudu, that must console them. (Beat) In September, just after I heard that Harmony was dead, I wentto Imvula for certain ceremonies. Wecleansed the spades that were used to dig Rejoiceís grave.We performed each thing that was necessary for him to take his place among the ancestors. The next time I go back I will visit his grave. From up there I will look down at the dam and the village and the school and the orchard.From far away I will hear the voices of the children.My brother will come to join me. Me and my brother will sit there on that green hill above the dam at Imvula, and we will rejoice. We will rejoice.

 

††††††††††††††††††††††† CD. LADY SMITH BLACK MAMBAZO, TRACK 2, HELLO MY BABY. CUT IN AT1:28.

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††††††††††††††††††††††† THE END.

 

 

 

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