Die Pluimsaad Waai Ver

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Die Pluimsaad Waai Ver (lit. “The plumed grass seeds are wafted far”) is an Afrikaans play by N.P. van Wyk Louw.

The full title was Die Pluimsaad Waai Ver of Bitter Begin (“The plumed grass seeds are wafted far, or bitter beginning")

The title not to be confused with Die pluimsaad waai ver, the original working title of a book of reminiscences by contemporaries about the illustrious poet and playwright, compiled by Ampie Muller. Eventually published in 2020 as Vuur in sy vingers: Die verreikende invloed van NP Van Wyk Louw, edited by Ampie Muller en Beverley Roos-Muller.

The original text

Commissioned by the Performing Arts Council for the Transvaal for the first Republic Festival, it is a polemical historical drama in verse. It focuses on a reinterpretation of the Anglo-Boer War and the notion of an Afrikaner Nation. The fact that the play asks “what is a nation?” led to a direct confrontation with Prime Minister H.F. Verwoerd and significantly broadened the growing split between the government and the more liberal Afrikaner writers.

First performed on 25 May 1966 in Die Kleinteater in Pretoria and the text play was published as Die pluimsaad waai ver, of Bitter begin ("The plumed grass seeds are wafted far, or bitter beginning") by Human & Rousseau in 1972.

Translations and adaptations

Performance history in South Africa

1966: First staged in the Little Theatre, Pretoria and the Brooke Theatre in Johannesburg, directed by Truida Louw, with Anna Neethling-Pohl as the narrator, Roelf Laubscher (Willem Vermaas), Sandra Kotze (Sannie Vermaas), Frans Kies (Veldkornet), Carel Trichardt (Grootvader Visser), Franz Marx (Jan Visser), Petru Wessels (Anna Visser), Jan Bruijns (Pres Steyn), James Norval (Ruiter), Marius Weyers (Pieter), Louis van Niekerk (Genl Cronje), Louw Verwey (Genl de Wet), Thea Kirstein (Mev Cronje), Tommy van Schalkwyk (Kapt Wolmarans), Johan Botha (Generaal) and others. Assistant director Marga van Rooy. Decor and costumes by Raimond Schoop.

1967: Staged by PACOFS, directed by Joey de Koker with Maria Bosman and Johan Botha.

1969: Staged by the Drama Department of the Stellenbosch University, in association with CAPAB, in the H.B. Thom Theatre (2-6 September) and the Bellville Civic Theatre (11-13 September), directed by Ria Olivier, with Babs Laker, Tommie Smit, Pieter Bredenkamp, Hermann Pretorius, Gerhard Roux, Charles Fryer, Michael Stewart, Fred le Roux, Annelize van der Rijst, Johan Esterhuizen.


J.C. Steyn. 1990 "Die Pluimsaad-polemiek" in South African Journal of Cultural History, Volume 4, Issue 2, Apr 1990, p. 75 - 87

Stellenbosch University Library catalogue

PACT theatre programme, 1966.

Universiteitsteater Stellenbosch theatre programme, 1969.

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