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("Sweat") - a 1997 play by Walter Chakela.


In "Sweat", Chakela takes us on a spirited journey in song and dance through the dark years of oppression in South Africa and the current search for truth and reconciliation. This is not your typical play, but a finely crafted tapestry of drama, poetry, a cappella music and dance woven by a master storyteller. It's an African epic in four sections spanning the creation of man to the present day The title, Sweat, alludes to the fall of Adam and man's banishment from paradise. Man was condemned to labour. In Chakela's case this is the sweat of Johannesburg's migrant workers, the sweat of Soweto's student activists and the suffering of a fragile octogenarian bent over a microphone as he testifies before the truth commission. (Sunday Independent, 11 February 2001)

Translations and adaptations

Performance history in South Africa

First staged at the Grahamstown Festival in 1997, directed by Charles Cornette, Hilde Uitterlinden and John Ledwaba, with a cast of eleven actors. Produced by the Windybrow Theatre Company and the Internationale Niewe Scene Theatre of Belgium and sponsored by the Ministry of Culture of the Flemish community. The production was also staged in the Adcock-Ingram Auditorium at the Windybrow Centre for the Arts in September 1997 and later in Belgium, Norway and the Netherlands.

Staged in the USA in February 2001 at the 7 Stages Theater in Atlanta, Georgia.


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