Reviews & Profiles
The heart soother
Posted Saturday, October 19 2013 at 01:00
The Heart Soothers is a simple but very educative and highly informative play that highlights the crisis of the institution of marriage in contemporary African setting. My heart aches for the young generation as the playwright wittingly describes what happens to a young graduate, and now an executive company director, Jimmy.
He is co-habiting with another young graduate, Mini, in total disregard of African tradition and culture.
Tension begins to build when unfaithfulness creeps into the relationship. Jimmy is engulfed in reckless living, epitomised by alcoholism, deception, arrogance, pride and unfaithfulness to Mini by lodging away with Jez while Mini takes to revenging and nursing her frustration by lodging with Jogo. The tension escalates when Patrick and Florence, acquaintances of Jimmy and Mini respectively, begin to ill-advise them.
Their selfish interest in misguiding the copule to secretly involve themselves in illicit relationships, and revenge so as to “sooth their hearts” is one reason you keep reading the play to find out what tragedy befalls the protagonists as they out-compete each other in mischief.
Patrick and Florence remind you of the many men and women in our society who specialise in causing confusion in people’s relationships. Their preoccupation is ruining other people’s relationships, making them restless.
The bigger picture
As the story unfolds, the reader realises that what began as a simple romantic love relationship between two upcoming young graduates soon transforms into a moving narrative on a clash of civilisations. Iyaa stands out in the play as the custodian of African tradition and culture. Whereas she acknowledges the importance of formal education and has sacrificed everything to enable her son attain university education, she still holds firmly onto the African traditional values and customs.
The playwright uses Iyaa to echo the need for the preservation of the traditional values, culture and heritage while embracing the positive aspects of western civilization. The simmering conflict between Iyaa and Mini erupts to the surface when Mini, by a rare accident breaks Iyaa’s much cherished pot, which has lasted for more than three generations. When her pot breaks, it symbolises the disintegration and erosion of the African cultural heritage. In the breaking of her pot, Iyaa not only laments but also predicts her own death, the death of her son, Jimmy and by implication, the death of traditional African society.
“For in the death of this pot, I see my own death.
In the death of this pot, I see the death of my son.
The pot is no more!
It can no longer be passed on from generation to generation.
Nor can the saucepan that has replaced the pot
Be strong enough to defeat the encroachment of the years.
Only the pot can out-maneuver the years...”
Author: Sylvester Onzivua
Price: Shs20, 000
Available at: MK Publishers (on order)