At the Edge and Other Cato Manor Stories

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At the Edge and Other Cato Manor Stories can refer to a collection of short stories by Ronnie Govender (1935-2021), or to Govender's stage adaptations of the stories, originally titled simply At the Edge, but later sometimes billed as At the Edge and Other Cato Manor Stories]].

The original stories

A collection of Govender's writings, stories that offers a series of narratives of life in Cato Manor from the 1940s until its destruction in 1958/9, giving a glimpse of everyday life in Indian/Zulu/colonial Natal and in the process raises larger questions about South African Indian identities—questions of alienation, exclusion, exoticism, and belonging. First apparently adapted and performed in 1990, and then published as a collection stories called At the Edge and Other Cato Manor Stories by Marx Publishers in 1996.

The stage version

In 1990 Govender adapted his as yet unpublished collection of tales about Cato Manor as a one-person stage piece entitled which was then performed as At the Edge by Pat Pillai, directed by Govender. After the publication of the book of stories in 1996, the stage text was billed as At the Edge and Other Cato Manor Stories (e.g. in 2010). Among the other performers who have performed the play over the years have been Leeanda Reddy and Jailoshini Naidoo.

Performance history in South Africa

1990: First performed as At the Edge by Pat Pillai at the Asoka Theatre, University of Durban-Westville

1990: The play was next performed by Pat Pillai, and taken on tour of many small towns and various venues in Natal and elsewhere, including the Cane Grower's Hall in March and the Baxter Studio, Cape Town, on 25 June

1991: Pat Pillai now went on a national tour, playing at the Little Theatre, Cape Town 15 April and the Standard Bank National Arts Festival, Grahamstown in July.

1991: Performed at the Edinburgh Festival, again featuring Pat Pillai.

1997: Performed at the Natal Playhouse, with music composed by Siva Devar.

2000: Performed at the International Theater Festival in New Delhi, India, by Leeanda Chetty, who later took it on tour in South Africa, and performed it at the Edinburgh Festival.

2010: At the Edge and Other Cato Manor Stories was performed by Jailoshini Naidoo, as part of the fourth edition of the Shared History - The Indian Experience Festival, presented by Teamwork Productions in association with The High Commission of India. Directed by [[Sharupa Dutta], with music by Siva Devar. It was presented at Playhouse Theatre, Durban from 8 September to 12 September (as part of the Celebrating Durban Festival), at The Market Theatre, Johannesburg, as part of the Jo'burg Arts Alive International Festival from 16 to 26 September.


At the Edge theatre programme, 1991.

National Arts Festival Programme, 1991, 36-37.

Rajendra Chetty. At the Edge. The Writings of Ronnie Govender New York: Peter Lang[]

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