Quickies: Ordentlik

Ordentlik, photo by Stanzi Malan.

Ordentlik. The Afrikaans word is heard to describe… a hearty meal, a well-organised event, or a decent person. Who, or what system, sets the rules for “decent”? Well, that’s what Ordentlik asks and considers. Ordentlik is nice, neh. Ordentlik is praised. Hallelujah. Ordentlik is drilled in deep.

In the dungeons of the monument to colonisers, this weird ‘museum exhibition’ attempts to crack open the image of the Afrikaner ‘volksmoeder’ (mother of the nation). Bun in blonde hair, floral apron donned, Liesel van Tonder is on display, apparently one of the last vestiges of this colonial figure. She performs her most important duty: preparing coffee, not too sweet, not too bitter, for her husband Kobus. And she’s continuously tidying her already immaculate and identifiably Afrikaans kitchen: she straightens the crocheted white decorative placemat, and polishes the copper kettle.

The work is oddly dark. It’s some kind of twisted satire. It’s totally offbeat. The piece is a netjies 30 minutes, and in some places it only scratches at the surface, and I know it won’t appeal to all. The student theatre-makers are young but their inexperience isn’t hindering their brave stylistic choices.

Having a dose of Afrikaner lineage myself and having married into the nation… I can testify: the ‘volksmoeder’ is very much alive as the treasured ideals are passed from generation to the next. But as Ordentlik seems to suggest – it’s not just in Afrikaner culture. Systemic patriarchy is trying its best – and often succeeds – to teach boys and girls everywhere what a woman is meant to be. In school. In church. On TV. Out there. And at home (innie kombuis).

This team is roering up some interesting questions and striving to embody “fringe”. They’re messing with conventions and taking risks and trying to start conversations. Ordentlik is on tonight at 8pm and tomorrow 05 July at 1pm. Details & bookings: click here.

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