Theatre review- Every Year, Every Day, I am walking.

Posted: February 11, 2010 in Theatre & Event Reviews and Interviews
Tags: , , , ,

Every Year, Every Day, I am Walking

Directed by:  Mark Fleishman
Featuring:  Faniswa Yisa and Jennie Reznek
Original Music by:  Neo Muyanga
Choreography:  Ina Wichterich
Set Design:  Julia Anastasopoulos
Lighting Design:  Daniel Galloway
Review:  Astrid Stark

During the second week of February this year a Rwandan-born refugee laid charges against the South African police.  The man, who has lived in Cape Town since the age of nine, says police accosted him on the street and asked for his papers. After being unable to produce the documents he says that police tortured him with stun guns and a cigarette lighter:  on his genitals.  It reminds us of Ernesto Nhamuave who become known as the “burning man” after he was burned alive during the 2008 xenophobic attacks in Johannesburg.  The image of Ernesto on his knees, with a policeman trying to douse the flames, sent shock waves across the world.  Sometimes words just cannot describe the agony of the human condition and, “I am sorry for your pain,” cannot touch those who have been wronged. 

Photo by Mark Wessels

  Every Year, Every Day I am Walking, attempts to address issues of xenophobia, abuse and survival, through powerful imagery, dance and music.   Faniswa Yisa and Jennie Reznek of the Magnet Theatre portrays a mother and daughter whose house is burnt down and their family separated by a violent xenophobic attack.  The pair then has to find their way through treacherous territory and many dangers to the border of South Africa where they hope a new life awaits them.  Upon their arrival at home affairs they are again rejected and abused because they don’t have papers.   It is a difficult and painful story to tell, if it must be done, performance art is one way of getting the message across to all ages and races. 

During the 70 minute performance very little spoken words are used yet it is obvious what the actresses are saying through miming and dance.   A real fire on stage recreates the horror of their home burnt.  A dance with pangas, known to be used in xenophobic attacks, describes the horror of genocide.  Both Yisa and Reznek’s performance and Mark Fleishman’s direction radiates sincerity.  The story is told simply and honestly. 

Tiny dashes of humour, perhaps not quite enough; lift the grave feeling of the show.  A very evocative scene of the two women walking through sand describes the eternal journey of seeking and one’s home and the need to belong.   Neo Muyanga’s original score, as always, is deeply stirring and almost becomes a character of its own in the performance. 

 It is Muyanga’s fifth collaboration with the Magnet Theatre and he seems to be upping his game with every composition.  The production is suitable for ages 13 years old and up.  As a creative therapy for children and an education tool for all it is probably one of the most valuable performances in South African theatre today.    Teaching empathy and understanding to our children is one way of addressing xenophobia and instilling tolerance from a very young age. The performance runs until 12 February and only during the mornings.  The price is R35 and special block booking discounts are available.
Enquiries and bookings: Margie Pankhurst tel. 021 480 7173 or e-mail

  1. michael says:

    Just saw this play at a small theatre in London. A minor masterclass, I thought, and liked your review too.


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