Die Swerfjare van Poppie Nongena

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Die Swerfjare van Poppie Nongena (Lit: "The Wandering Years of Poppie Nongena") can refer to the 1978 novel, the 1983 stage play and musical, the two films (198* and 2019), all based on the novel.


(Also known in English as Poppie Nongena, Poppie or The Long Journey of Poppie Nongena)

The novel

Die Swerfjare van Poppie Nongena was originally written in Afrikaans, and tells the story of Poppie and her peripatetic life, trials and tribulations as a black woman in Apartheid South Africa. first published in 1978. Translated into English by Joubert herself as The Long Journey of Poppie Nongena in 1980.

Translations and adaptations

It was adapted for the stage by Joubert and Sandra Kotzé and performed by

The text was published as Poppie: Die Drama ("Poppie: The Drama") by Elsa Joubert and Sandra Kotzé. Tafelberg, 1984, though performed either as Poppie or its full title, Die Swerfjare van Poppie Nongena

An English translation (entitled The Long Journey of Poppie Nongena or simply Poppie) was done by Sandra Kotzé and staged at the Market Theatre and in New York in 1983, directed by Lucille Gillwald. It toured the United States for two years.

The English play was also adapted as a musical play called Poppie Nongena by Sandra Kotzé and Hilary Blecher (who directed), opening at Off Broadway in Cape Town, and going to the Edinburgh Festival, 1983.

Filmed as The Long Journey of Poppie Nongena by Koos Roets in 1989, in 2019

Filmed again, as Poppie Nongena, in 2019 (released in 31 January 2020), the script written and directed by Christiaan Olwagen, with Clementine Mosimane as "Poppie Nongena", Anna-Mart van der Merwe as "Antoinette Swanepoel", Chris Gxalaba as "Stone", Nomsa Nene as "Lena" and Rolanda Marais as "Magriet". The film was released on 31 January 2020 to positive reviews and winning several awards and nominations at various film festivals.

To be added

LONG JOURNEY OF POPPIE NONGENA film. Main Director KOOS ROETS Year 1989 http://www.citwf.com/film202568.htm

"Sophie Thoko Mgcina" in Women Marching Into the 21st Century: Wathint' Abafazi, Wathint' Imbokodo, HSRC Press, 2000: pp158-9, Google E-book[1]

Performance history in South Africa

1979: First performed in Boshof on 12 February by PACOFS and in Bloemfontein under the direction of Kotzé and featuring Nomsa Nene. The play made Nene famous as "Poppie", a role she played in most of the early productions.

1979: Staged by CAPAB, directed by Sandra Kotzé, with Lida Meiring (Poppie), Marko van der Colff (Verteller), Brümilda van Rensburg (Ma Lena), Ian Roberts (Mosie), Marthinus Basson (Stone) and Willem de la Querra (Hoedjie). Lida Meiring won a Fleur du Cap Award for Best Actress in the role of Poppie Nongena.

1980: Directed by Hilary Blecher for The Company at the Market Theatre.

1981: Presented by KRUIK Toneel under the direction of Pieter Fourie opening 4 July at the Nico Malan Theatre starring Nomhle Nkonyeni as Poppie, Neels Coetzee, Brümilda van Rensburg, Marko van der Colff, David van der Merwe and Paul Lückhoff. Decor and costumes by Penny Simpson, lighting by John T. Baker.

1984: PACT Drama production of Poppie in English, based on Elsa Joubert's Die swerfjare van Poppie Nongena, adapted by Sandra Kotzé and Elsa Joubert, and produced in 1984, directed by Marius Weyers, with Nomsa Nene and Peter Se-Puma in the cast, also starring Whinney-Isaiah Setimo, Arthur Masekwameng, Aubrey Radebe, Tembsie Times, Themba Nyathi, Carolyn Barkhuizen and Lochner de Kock. This production had a Cape Town season at the Nico Malan Theatre in association with Basil Rubin.

2004-5: Produced by Henry Mylne at the Suidoosterfees and KKNK as Poppie - Die Drama, starring Terence Bridgett, Bertha le Roux, Vinette Ebrahim, Fiks Mahola, Denver Vraagom, Theodore Jantjies and Willem Klopper. Set designed by Johan Engelbrecht.

Marthinus Basson, Lida Meiring, Brümilda van Rensburg and Ian Roberts did about 400 performances of the play on tour. (Burger, 28 March 2012).


Die Swerfjare van Poppie Nongena theatre programme (CAPAB), 1981.

NELM Collection: Theatre programmes]: 2013. 2. 1.


Coplan 1983.

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