Play explores politics of hair

Tamzin Williams reads her lines.

The creators of Bossiekop, a new stage show about the politics of hair in South Africa, are hoping their production will be more than just fringe theatre.

UCT students from areas such as Bellville, Elises River and Brackenfell are working together on the show, which debuts at the Suidoosterfees 2019 on Freedom Day, Saturday April 27.

Show director Lance-Selae August, form Elsies River, says that when it comes to hair they had plenty to work with.

“The show unpacks the house dynamics and politics surrounding hair texture, discrimination and bullying at school, insecurities, sexism and the exoticism and commodification of the ‘kroeskop’ culture. This production will be performed in Afrikaans but contains English subtitles.”

Tamzin Williams, who plays the title character Allison AKA “Bossiekop” and comes from Bellville, says the production tackles deep-rooted issues in the coloured community.

“Hair in the coloured community is something that is spoken about before a baby is even born, at every family event, when you’re getting ready for an occasion, and so on.

“Schools also play a big role and enforce this notion of neatness, instead of allowing students to explore neatness with their own hair textures, they narrow the options that lead us to straighten our hair in the aim to achieve ‘neatness’.”

She says the show was created to address misconceptions around hair and help people embrace their natural locks.

The students worked on the show for just over a year and have held many rehearsals at the Hiddingh Campus in Gardens in the past few weeks.

Kim Adonis, from Brackenfell, says she’s “trembling with nerves”, but she’s pleased that after working for two weeks together they’ve come up with something original.

“We’ve spent three weeks devising, writing and putting things on the floor. We’re heading into our fourth week of rehearsals now.”

Lance-Selae says he and Tamzin created the show, but the cast all contributed to the script and the overall production.

“The entire process took about a year, from conceptualising, to getting into the festival, to getting the ball rolling for rehearsals.

“We have only completed the script last week.”

The students hope the show will lead to future opportunities.

Tamzin, who is in the third year of her BA theatre and performance degree at UCT, dreams of appearing on stage and in film both locally and abroad.

“I have a passion for my craft, so I plan to hone it and work extremely hard at it.”

As the director, Lance-Selae, in his final year of a BA theatre and dance studies degree, says right now his focus is on making Bossiekop a hit.

“For the show, we are hoping for a showcase at the Baxter Theatre and at other festivals such as Stellenbosch University’s Woordfees, Klein Karoo Nasionale Kunstefees and even the Vrystaat Kunstefees.”

Bossiekop is on at the Artscape Theatre on April 27 at noon. Tickets are R80. Book at Computicket.