ACTOR TOOLS: 5 SOUTH AFRICAN MONOLOGUES vol 1

Monologues
Compiled by Thembi Zikalala

Performing a monologue is an important acting skill and it should be practiced often. Here are 5 South African Monologues (mostly extracted from plays). Monologue, in literature and drama, an extended speech by one person. The term has several closely related meanings. A dramatic monologue (q.v.) is any speech of some duration addressed by a character to a second person. A soliloquy (q.v.) is a type of monologue in which a character directly addresses an audience or speaks his thoughts aloud while alone or while the other actors keep silent. In fictional literature, an interior monologue (q.v.) is a type of monologue that exhibits the thoughts, feelings, and associations passing through a character’s mind.

‘HESTER’S MONOLOGUE’


Excerpt from the play: HELLO AND GOODBYE
Written by: Athol Fugard
Character: Hester

HESTER: They pushed me forward. “Say goodbye to your Mommie, Hester.” I said it – but I couldn’t cry. I was dry and hot inside. Ashamed! Of u. Of her, Mommie, for being dead and causing all the fuss. Of him, Daddy, his face cracked like one of our old plates, saying things he never said when she was alive. And all the uncles and aunties kissing him and patting him on the back and saying “Shame!” every time they saw you. It was those cousins of his from Despatch, who never ever came to visit us. The whole mob of them, all in black, the little girls in pretty dresses, looking at everything in the house and us looking like poor whites because there wasn’t enough cups to give everybody coffee at the same time. I hated it! I hated Mommie for being dead.

I couldn’t cry.

I cried later. I don’t know, maybe two days. Everything was over, the relatives gone. He was in bed with shock. The house was quiet like never before. Then there was a knock at the back door. I opened it and it was that coolie who always sold the vegetables, “Where’s your Mommie?” he asked.

I couldn’t say anything at first. “Girlie, where’s your Mommie?” then I told him. ‘Dead.’ I just said, ‘Dead’, and started to cry. He took off his hat and stood there watching me until I shouted, “Voetsek!” and chased him away – and sat down and cried and cried. Because suddenly I knew she was dead, and what it meant, being dead. It’s goodbye for keeps.

She was gone forever. So I cried.

 

‘NOBUHLE’S MONOLOGUE’

Excerpt from the play: FINDING MY ROOT
Written by: Nanziwe Mzuzu
Character: Nobuhle

 

NOBUHLE: There was this best friend of mine, Funeka. She always wanted me to plait her hair. She would come every seven o’clock every evening, knowing very well we had our supper at that time…what?….who? she really didn’t care. It made it difficult for me to avoid sharing my plate of food with her; made me even

wonder if she came to plait her hair or score herself a plate of my grandmother’s best beef stew. I am fond of her though. She is the one friend I can really share my problems with.

(starts whispering) I am not gossiping, but my friend is greedy; no wonder she is so fat. I mean, she scores a meal here at my home and will still have her supper at her home too afterwards.

(to a seated Funeka whom she was platting) chomi before you eat can we at least pray….what do you mean pray for what….pray for the food that you are about to eat….really don’t get how you are eating away with hair potentially falling on your food….

(Nobuhle prays) Just close your eyes friend….God please bless this food that we are about to eat in Jesus’ name, Amen.

(sits on chair to eat) Well I have my father to thank for that, oh okay my grandfather because he was the one who taught me how to pray and anyway at last week’s sermon at Church the pastor highly advised us to pray for or meals so that we could be filled up.

(to audience) In my case, it was very important that Funeka prays just so she could fill up quicker before finishing our food at home.

 

‘MBONGENI’S MONOLOGUE’

Bheki Mkhwane and Hamilton Dlamini ‘Woza Albert’ at the Soweto Theatre.

Excerpt from the play: WOZA ALBERT
Written by: Percy Mtwa, Mbongeni Ngema, & Barney Simon
Character: Mbongeni

MBONGENI: (knocking) Cell number six! Morena! (knocking)

Cell number six! Morena! Bad luck, hey! I hear they got you again. They tell me you’re in solitary confinement just like us. From Sun City to Robben Island! (Laughs ruefully) You’ve made us famous, Morena. The whole world is talking about us. Hey bayasiteya labedana oamabhunu man! [Hey they are riding us these white boys.] Morena, I sit here just like you with this one light bulb and only the Bible to read! Ja! And the New Testament tells me about you, and your family, and your thoughts. But why do they give us your book to read, Morena? They must be bladdy mad, Morena. This book only proves how mad they are. Listen. (knocking) Cell number six! For people like us, to be locked here like this is just rubbish. So what do you want here? Does your father know? What does he say? Come on Morena,man! (Knocking.)

Cell number six! You’ve got all the power! How can you let these things happen? How can you just sit there like that, Morena? Okay, okay I know you don’t like miracles, but these are bladdy hard times, Morena. Morena, I must tell you, I’m among those who have stopped waiting. One day we’ll have to help you! Phambiti neri-hondo! [Power to the people!] Can you hear me Morena? Cell number six! (Sarie Marais’ being whistled off-stage. Knocking more cautiously) Cell number six!! Morena! Morena… Cell number six…

‘THAMI’S MONOLOGUE’

My Children My Africa Kathy Jo Ross, John Kani and Rapulana image by Ruphin Coudyzer

Excerpt from the play: My Children! My Africa!
Written by: Athol Fugard
Character: Thami

THAMI: Yes, I was there. Yes, I did try to stop it. (He gives Isabel time to deal with this answer) I knew how angry the people were. I went to warn him. If he had listened to me he would still be alive, but he wouldn’t. It was almost as if he wanted it to happen. I think he had hated himself very much for what he had done to Isabel. He kept saying to me that it was all over. He was right. There was nothing left for him. That visit to the police station had finished everything. Nobody would have ever spoken to him again or let him teach their children. I know what you are feeling. (Pause) I also loved him. Doesn’t help much to say it now I know, but I did.

Because he made me angry and impatient with his “old-fashioned” ideas, I didn’t want to admit it. Even if I had, it wouldn’t have stopped me from doing what I did, the boycott and everything, but I should have tried harder to make him understand why I was doing it. You were right to ask about that. Now…? (A helpless gesture) You know the most terrible words in your language, Isabel? Too late.

Social Media Caption: “Performing a monologue is an important acting skill and it should be practiced often. Here are Top 5 South African Monologues (mostly extracted from plays).

 

THEMBI’S MONOLOGUE

Lungile Mkhize, Dawn King and Sheila Khumalo in The Game at The Playhouse Company.

Excerpt from the play: THE GAME
Written by: Duma Ndlovu
Character: Thembi

THEMBI: My heart went away in 1986 when my son was killed. What a year! My son was killed right in front of my eyes, by other children who called him umdlwembe. Young little boys his age. He was 14years old, and these were his own friends. Inhliziyo yami yahamba ngo 1986 mhla kubulawa indodana yami. Kwakungomunye unyaka lowaya! Indodana yami yabulawa phambi kwami, ibulawa ngezinye izingane ezaziyibiza ngomdlwembe. Abafana abancane ababengontanga yakhe. Wayeneminyaka eyishumi nane, kanti labafana babengabangani bakhe.

He mentioned to his sister one day that he and Khumalo’s son, uDibenjo, had a fight about which group to join between Azapo and UDF. Then suddenly these kids came to my house looking for him, saying they wanted him to join them for a soccer game. He was not home and I asked them why, if they only wanted him for soccer, they carried a tyre with his name on it. They said they wanted to give him the tyre as a present, so he could play with it. Ngelinye ilanga wayeke washo kudadewabo ukuthi yena kanye nendodana kaKhumalo, uDibenjo, bebelwa ngokuthi kufanele bajoyine liphi iqembu phakathi kweAzapo neUDF. Kwase kuvele kufika izingane kwami zimthungatha, zithi zifuna ajoyine umdlalo webhola. Wayengekho ekhaya ngase ngizibuza ukuthi uma babemfunela ibhola kuphela, pho yini babenethayi elalibhalwe igama lakhe. Zathi zazifuna ukumnika ithayi njengesipho, ukuze adlale ngalo.

These are some of the images that haunt me until this day. I can not sleep at night. Every single night I am awoken in the middle of the night by images, pictures, fire, children, voices, screams, tears. The image of my child burning will never ever leave me. Kunezinye izithombe ezisangihlupha nanamhlanje. Angikwazi ukulala ebusuku. Njalo ebusuku phakathi nobusuku ngivuswa izithombe, umlilo, izingane, amazwi, ukumemeza kanye nezinyembezi. Isithombe sengane yami isha angisoze ngasikhohlwa.

In my dreams I constantly see Mthunzi’s small frame, dancing in that fire, screaming, calling me, calling his father, asking us to save him. I see the faces of those monsters, laughing, dancing, singing freedom songs. How can you kill an innocent soul, and then sing freedom songs? How can you use Mandela’s name in vain? They kept chanting, “Baba Mandela, come and free us, Freedom is in your hands, show us the way to freedom.” The bloody bastards. Emaphupheni ami ngihlale ngibona uhlaka lukaMthunzi, ludansa kulowamlilo, lumemeza, lungibiza, lubiza nobaba wakhe, ecela ukuba simsize. Ngibona ubuso baleziyazilwane, zihleka, zidansa, zicula nezingoma zenkululeko. Uwubulala kanjani umphefumulo ongenacala, bese ucula izingoma zenkululeko? Ulisebenzisa kanjani ngeze igama likaMandela? Baqhubeka nokucula, “Bab’ uMandela, woza uzosikhulula, inkululeko isezandleni zakho, sitshengise indlela eya enkululekweni.” Labodoti laba.

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