Die Koggelaar

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Die Koggelaar ("The mocker") is a play by Pieter Fourie (1940-2021)

The original text

Die Koggelaar is an expressionistic play that deals with the Afrikaner and his relationship to God, set in a world bereft of hope. A central symbol is the all encompassing drought - ravaging the souls of the Afrikaners as much as it does the land.

According to Nico Luwes (2012, p.255) the origins of the play lie in a period of acute loneliness and a disillusionment which newly divorced Fourie experienced while living in Franschoek and working as Resident Dramatist for CAPAB. He began writing the work in 1981-2, a period of immense confrontation and violence in the country, but only finished it in 1986, when he submitted the text for the newly instituted SACPAC Award. The text won the very first such award, to some considerable controversy and, in terms of the award, was subsequently performed by a number of the Performing Arts Councils in 1987.

The play also won the newly created Dawie Malan Award for new indigenous plays, instituted by DALRO, in that year.

Published by Haum-Literêr in 1988. It would become the second play in the quartet of farm tragedies by Fourie, along with Ek, Anna van Wyk (1984/1986), Donderdag se Mense (1990) and Post Mortem (1993/2016).

Translations and adaptations

Die Koggelaar was adapted as a 45 minute radio drama by Eben Cruywagen in 1997. Directed by Cruywagen with Johann Nel, Sizwe Msutu, Cupido Samuels, Johan Botha, Barbara McArthur, Deirdre Wolhuter and Adriaan Botha. It was broadcast by Radio Sonder Grense on 22 April 1997.

Performance history in South Africa

1987: First performed by the CAPAB drama company for the combined Performing Arts Councils, opening at the Nico Malan Theatre on 20 March 1987. The play was directed by Dieter Reible, with Ian Roberts (Boet Cronjé), Cedwyn Joel (Anker), Leslie Fong (Knaplat), Brümilda van Rensburg (Anna Cronjé), Lida Meiring (Betta Cronjé), Dawie Maritz (Ben Cronjé), Neels Coetzee (Buurman/Kroegman/Dominee) and Jan Ellis, Pedro Kruger and Sarel Pretorius alternating as Klein-Ben at the various venues. Stage manager Hannelie de Beer. Lighting was by Pieter de Swardt and costumes by Jenny de Swardt.

1987: In accordance with the regulations of the award, the Performing Arts Councils sponsored production was subsequently taken on tour, though in a substantially shortened version according to Luwes (2012, p. 341), though using the same cast. It was to have opened at the Roodepoort Civic Theatre on 1 May 1987, but this run was cancelled. The play was then performed in the Momentum Theatre at the State Theatre, Pretoria, opening on 14 May, then in the Playhouse in Durban during May, in the Windhoek Theatre in Namibia (opening on 9 June). The next scheduled production - in the Bloemfontein Civic Theatre- was to have opened on 17 June, but was also cancelled.

1989: Performed in Bloemfontein by PACOFS directed by Gerben Kamper with Isadora Verwey, Paul Lückhoff, Simon Bruinders, Ernst Eloff, Marjorie Nortjé, Cedwyn Joel, James van Helsdingen, Hennie Baird and Cobus de Villiers. The play opened in the André Huguenet Theatre in the Sand du Plessis Theatre Complex on the 20th April. Lighting was by Martin Pelser and décor designed by Johan Badenhorst and adapted by Gerhard van den Bergh.

1990: Performing rights granted by DALRO to the RUKO for performances in Roodepoort during October.

1999: Performing rights granted by DALRO to the Vrystaat Ensemble for performances in Oudtshoorn during March.

1999: Performing rights granted by DALRO to the Aardklop Nasionale Kunstefees for performances in Potchefstroom during September.

2005: Performing rights granted by DALRO to the Thalia Toneel for performances in Potchefstroom during May.


Die Koggelaar theatre programme, 1987.

Nico Luwes 2010. Pieter Fourie (1940-) se bydrae as Afrikaanse dramaturg en kunsbestuurder: 1965-2010. Unpublished doctoral dissertation. Bloemfontein: University of the Free State, pp. 255, 331-374 [1]

Pieter Fourie, text of Die Koggelaar (according to a handwritten note by Fourie, a copy of the typed working text used for the initial rehearsals), held in the archive of the Drama Department of the University of Stellenbosch.

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