'n Kwessie van 'n Pomp

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'n Kwessie van 'n Pomp ("an issue of a pump") is a political comedy by Alcibiade Orange (pseudonym, fl 1960-1970s).

The original text

Inspired by the first heart transplant by Dr Christiaan Barnard in 1967, the play tells of "Wilfred" a white millionaire, who has a heart attack when he hears that his best friend is opposed to Apartheid, and thus has to have a heart transplant. The operation is done by a "Dr Barnebe", who can only get hold of the heart of a black donor, and uses that. The result is that Wilfred now changes completely in personality. His concerned family initially try to hide the circumstances surrounding the operation from him. To their consternation however, they find that Wilfred has now also turned against Apartheid and so in desperation they try to get him "banned" to a "Bantu reservation". The play is set on a totally white stage, including white furniture, curtains, telephone etc.

According to the Afrikaans article in Die Burger, the play was first performed in "Parys" (given the political theme, one assumes this was Paris, France, not the town in the Free State), during May of 1969.

The original text

Translations and adaptations

Performance history in South Africa


"Harthumor" ("heart humour") in Die Burger, a report from the issue of 8th May, 1969, as cited in its regular feature "50 Jaar Gelede" ("50 Years Ago") on 9th May, 2019.

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