Egoli: City of Gold

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Egoli: City of Gold (also printed eGoli: City of Gold) is a play by Matsemela Manaka (1955-1998).

The original text

A play about the lives of two miners in Johannesburg (the "city of gold" of Egoli), exploring the effects of drink, dangerous work and confinement in hostels on the men. Workshopped by Manaka with actors John Maolusi Ledwaba and Hamilton Mahonga Silwane under the auspices of Soyikwa Theatre in mid-1979.

The play is a searing indictment of the exploitation of industrial workers. It provided a basis for optimism among members of the working class, especially the Natonal Union of Mineworkers who were in the forefront of the Congress of SA Workers Unions.

Published in 1980. Also published in Beyond the Echoes of Soweto: Five Plays by Matsemela Manaka (1997).

The play was banned in South Africa but awarded a Fringe First at the Edinburgh Festival and was voted "Best Play of the Year" in London in 1982.

Not to be confused with the Afrikaans TV series Egoli: Plek van Goud

Performance history in South Africa

1979: First performed at the Soweto YMCA.

1979: Reshaped and directed by Rob Amato for the Rehearsal Room at The Space (Cape Town) in August 1979. Dan Lekalakala was the stage manager with Ben Dekker as the designer and John Roberts as head of lighting.

1980: Went on to a run at the Market Theatre. Published by Ravan Press in 1980. It was banned by the Nationalist government in 1981.

1999: Produced by the Drama Department of the University of Durban-Westville in August 1999. (The Natal Witness 6 Sept 1999).

2016: Staged at the Market Theatre in January 2016 as part of the theatre's 40th birthday celebration.

Performance history abroad

1980: Staged at the Erlangen Festival in West Germany


Various entries in the NELM catalogue.

Davis, Geoffrey V. 2003.

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