Fong Kong

Jump to navigation Jump to search

A play created in 2000 by the students of the Market Theatre Laboratory workshopped and directed by Richard Manamela.


The play is about the new scourge that has attacked the cities of South Africa: xenophobia. Xenophobia is prevalent mostly among working class and unemployed South Africans who blame foreigners for every woe that beset the country, ranging from crime and AIDS to the theft of their jobs and of their women by hordes that are descending from the north. (Frances Harding, 2003)

Addresses the plight of African refugees and immigrants, often collectively known by derogatory names like the “Makwerekwere” or the “Girigambas”, ostracised, victimised and treated with suspicion, condescension and hostility by native South Africans. The term “Fong Kong” (popularised by a Kwaito hit song) refers to the counterfeit big-brand merchandise, often produced in China and sold by immigrant hawkers on South Africa’s city sidewalks. By extension “Fong Kong” means anything that is not genuine or original, like the foreigners (specifically Africans) living in South Africa. A Citizen reviewer commented on the issue of xenophobia explored in Fong Kong by referring to “...disturbing realities: the fear of foreigners; the open hatred and clear oppression reminiscent of the apartheid era but now applicable to black-on-black clashes” (Chikanga, 2000). [Van Heerden (2008)][1] p 111.

The play depicts everyday sufferings of our neighbours in our country. From the home affairs office to their hawking stalls and the Lindelani Repatriation Centre, where they await deportation, only to jump off, return and begin the circle afresh. (

Performance history in South Africa

Grahamstown Festival in July and the Market Theatre in August 2000. At the United Nations World Conference against Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerances in Durban in 2001.

Translations and adaptations


Go to ESAT Bibliography

[Van Heerden (2008)][2]

Harding, Frances. 2003. The Performance Arts in Africa: A Reader. London: Routledge.

Return to

Return to ESAT Templates

Return to F in Plays I Original SA Plays

Return to South_African_Theatre/Plays

Return to The ESAT Entries

Return to Main Page