Theatre: Curse of the Womb at Black Box Theatre, Delft, Cape Town, opens July 2021
What: Curse of the Womb Where: Black Box Theatre, Delft, Cape Town Dates: July 26 to August 1, 2021 Tickets: R50. To book, call 063 840 0894 or 063 647 8392 Director: Lwanda Sindaphi Writers: Sisa Makaula and Lwanda Sindaphi Cast: Thembekile Komani, Sibulele Tlebi, Zimasa Nyemende, Siyanda Yokwana, Zinzi Mtshakaza Language: 80% English and 20% IsiXhosa
In “some communities, when a woman does not conceive a child”, she may be censured and effectively banished from the relationship. Her womb is viewed as cursed, explains Sisa Makaula, co-writer of Curse of the Womb. He wrote the play with Lwanda Sindaphi, prior to the onslaught of Covid. Lockdown brought live performance to a halt and the staging was put on pause. With funding from the South African Lotteries, the launch season will take place from July 26, 2021 at the Black Box Theatre, Delft, Cape Town. The non-profit Makaula Foundation is producing the play. Sindaphi is directing.
With Curse of the Womb, Makaula says that they hope to “educate society” and “break” the violence and rage that many women experience because they are seen as “barren” and unable to conceive. “The reason we wrote the play is because infertility is a foreign topic to most Black families.” There is a perception that the “problem” is a woman’s “fault”. There is reluctance to look at the “science at why a woman is not becoming pregnant”, he says. Women tend to be “blamed” and no consideration is taken that the man may have a fertility issue or that there may be another medical reason that she is not conceiving. Makaula has witnessed many situations which have resulted in women having to leave and often in order to save themselves from violent consequences: “I know someone who was forced into a divorce because she could not conceive.” She subsequently had a child with another man. “The ex-husband has no children until today.” In addition to the conception myth – that women are at “fault” for not conceiving, there is tremendous pressure on women to have children – even if they don’t want children or don’t feel financially or emotionally ready. “In many cases, especially in a Black culture, women are only seen to produce children or their main role is to only produce children and if this does not happen, they will be replaced or forced to leave”. The play is an opportunity to generate dialogue and confront the misconceptions which are leading in some situations, to fracturing of family units and often with violent repercussions.
❇ Featured image: Left to right- Siyanda Yokwana and Sibulele Tlebi.