Playing out mining tragedy

Luthando Mti and Khotso K Manaka.

In February, South Africa woke up to the tragic news that three mineworkers were trapped underground in a container when a shaft gave way. Efforts to rescue them proved futile and nearly five months later, their bodies remain trapped in the earth.

In honour of the fallen miners, the Rosebank Theatre will be staging Lily’s Lament, “a theatrical memoir to the trapped mineworkers, an ode to the rigours of time, a meditation on fate and chance, luck and misfortune”, until Wednesday August 3.

The story is told through the eyes of Sponono, a recently married miner who, along with his wife, was swallowed by the hungry earth.

Starring a cast of three, this play attempts to “be caught in the middle of the scream.”

It is not a factual account of the tragedy; rather it will attempt to explore the empty moments that occur when waiting for death becomes common cause, and if Waiting for Godot was about the suspension of time in order to reveal the banality of time, Lily’s Lament will instead use Faulkner’s words as its starting point: “Clocks slay time… time is dead as long as it is being clicked off by little wheels; only when the clock stops does time come to life”.

The cast includes Luthando Mthi, a seasoned performer who earned his stripes working for the Isango Ensemble, and newcomers Khotso K Manaka and Philasande Goniwe, who have worked for Isu Elisha in the Eastern Cape and Soweto. Tshepo ya Rona devotes his time working with farmworkers in the Cedarberg region and runs performance workshops in the Eastern Cape.

The show starts at 7.30pm each night while there is also a matinee performance on Saturdays at 3pm.

Tickets, R100 or R60 for students and pensioners, are available at the door, as well as

Audiences are invited to bring dry food to be delivered to the families of the deceased after the run of the show.

Call Liz 072 316 6133 for ticket enquiries.