Chantal Stanfield’s From Koe’sisters to Kneidlach is destined to become a Defending the Caveman of sorts.
Now on at the Auto & General Theatre on the Square, the one-woman play is still a spunky take on what happens when a girl from the Cape Flats marries a Jewish guy from the East Rand.
This sort of work has always been an effective way to look at relationships humorously, but Stanfield’s creation is so much more. It speaks a lot about tightly-knit communities, and how they exist within the broader structures of the world and South Africa.
While knowing remedial Afrikaans and perhaps a little Yiddish will help you to understand some of the injokes, Koe’sisters to Kneidlach is a nuanced piece of writing about some of life’s most relatable and nerve-wracking experiences (remember meeting your significant other’s family?).
Stanfield shares her mostly accurate personal story of how she met husband RJ Benjamin (on Twitter, nogal) up to those first family gatherings, her first Shabbat dinner and finally the coming together of two cultures.
But it’s how the story goes from sentimental to hilarious that makes this an one-woman show worth every minute of your time. She addresses racism and real world issues, but it’s also a personal story that beams with humanity.
This is a uniquely South African story of a coloured girl going into the Jewish community of Joburg where she gets to grips with a heritage unfamiliar to her with just with the omnipresent voice of her mother, her gay best friend and her first rabbi in her head.
For once, South Africa’s diversity is celebrated in a way that’s meaningful. It ends on June 23, but I have a feeling it will be back soon.