An African Play: “EVERYBODY DOES THAT”

EVERYBODY DOES THAT
——————-
A Play in One Act

by

Bhekizitha

Copyright 8/16/16 Contact
Email
acbnclub@gmail.com

Cast of Characters

Adeola Ndlovu: A woman in her early 30’s: Works as a lawyer for the Auditor General of Cape Town. She is cunning.

Iya “Mom” Ndlovu: A woman in her mid-50’s. She is the first wife of a cattle farmer, a mother of six, and a nurse. She is passive aggressive.

Lulu Molefe:  A pregnant woman in her late 20’s: Feminist editor, married to the perfect husband with two children. She is a warrior.

Zaire Molefe:  A traditional African man in his late 20’s. He is married to Lulu.

Kofi Jackson:  A man in his late 20’s. Works as a low level government employee. He is unscrupulous.

Shaka: Eternal God of War

Mamlambo:  Eternal Goddess of the River

Scene
Large two bedroom apartment with high ceilings, rectangular sofa, stylish large wooden coffee table, open kitchen, and a sun drenched view of the savannah on the edge of Cape Town, South Africa.

Time

The present.

ACT I

SCENE I

FADE IN: The date is July 7th 2016. The universe is shown surrounded by a footbridge that resembles an amphitheater. On two opposite sides of it, the husband and wife who created the universe, Shaka and Mamlambo stand. There they watch as the universe slowly transforms into earth, then South Africa, and finally a pre-wedding gathering in an apartment. Adeola is hosting her mother and sister. She and her sister are having a passionate argument. The gods look.

Lulu:

 It’s not against the law to ask for maternity leave?

Adeola: 

Of course, but the government hates labor laws CREATED by foreign corporations.

Can you imagine the headlines? – “Scandinavian Book Company offers South African employees paid maternity leave for fifteen months?”

Fifteen months! (Outraged)
Notwithstanding the benefits, PAID maternity leave for fifteen months is LAVISH.

South Africans, especially the poor will see it as an example, and thus a right. Indeed, they would force the African National Congress to pander to them. The ANC would then PUSH local companies to pay seventy–five percent of everyone’s salary, DURING, so called maternity leave. Outrageous! The country cannot afford it.

Lulu:
When women are blocked from gaining financial security a country dies. Women have needs. Paid maternity leave is only right.

Mom:
Adeola, can you please pass me the cookies? They are so tasty.

Adeola:
Here you go Mother…… – Lulu, not when it puts an undue burden on the NATION. More women especially in a country such as South Africa where we refuse to socialize ALL – equals a bad idea.

Lulu:
Are you advocating soft genocide?

(Beat)

Adeola:
In any case, what are you working on now?
Lulu:
Work wise?

Adeola:
Yes!
Lulu:
A book about something dear to my heart with a little twist…
Adeola:
Something about kids (?)
Lulu:
Well sort of, it is a book about pregnant runners: “Women Who Jog until They Give Birth”

Adeola:
– Sounds eccentric

Lulu:
Don’t be silly. Picture a pregnant woman, me, on a sun burnt street, jogging, happy, front covers.

Adeola: (patronizing)
-Lulu: editor, malcontent, pregnant model.

Mom:
– Lulu the every woman.
(Beat)
Lulu: (Empathy)
Adeola, remember when you ran for Class President and I ran for Treasurer at University?

Adeola: (Exhausted)
I won and you were cheated.

Lulu:
Yes! – But what did you tell me that day as I cried my eyes red:

“Life is only worthy if it is lived for others.”

Adeola: (Cheerful)
I never said that.

(Beat)
Would you like another red velvet chocolate cookie?
Lulu:
Oh please! I need the energy. Actually, my doctor scolded me for not eating enough. You know – I don’t want to give myself an excuse to eat.

Adeola:
Lulu, you are such a perfectionist. You always look great before, during, and after giving birth.

Lulu:
Looking great is one thing, but I felt awful after my first pregnancy? Since then I have jogged, and doing so thirty minutes a day really has improved my mental and physical health.

Adeola:
Well Lulu, I am happy you find jogging helpful but I’ve heard it destroys the knees and hips. Running is a big no-no, especially for a pregnant woman.

Lulu: (Plain)
Since the Stone Age – stopping at today – future mothers did hard labor and harvested: peanuts, beans, maize – RIGHT here in South Africa. They lifted squash off the floor, washed it in quiet springs and stored it in stilted wooden boxes, so as to propel it above scavenger prey – all of this done by women in the fields, while pregnant, AND, until they gave birth.
Adeola: (Condescending)
The history you describe SOUNDS all so unimaginable, a socialist dream.

Lulu:
Everything, every little word I have said is true Adeola.

Mom:
Adeola, LULU will manage – though a luxury wife – she jogged besides YELLOW “upside down trees” and OVER rocky brass tops on the Dra-KENS-berg when she was eight months pregnant with the second boy.

If she had the strength for that, she will manage the flat, dusty, tarred, roads of Cape Town.

– Look how thin she is? Eat Lulu, eat!

Adeola:
I must warn you Lulu, each cookie is seventy-nine calories.
Lulu:
Then please give me two and a half cookies Adeola.

Adeola:
More tea mother?

Mom:
Yes please.
Adeola:
Anyway Lulu, you look amazing. I don’t know how you do it? Handsome hard working husband – although he can be selfish – two gorgeous boys, fulltime job, and now another baby on the way. By the way, have you spoken to the doctor about the baby’s gender?

Lulu:
No! Zaire and I have discussed it, and like before, we seek to be surprised. We both agreed we would like a girl. But a boy will be fine.

Mom:
As long as the baby is healthy, that is all that matters.

Adeola:
Mother? Can you light the short thick candle on the mantle and the long skinny one on the pillar?

Mother:
Are they scented? Scented candles can be poisonous.
Adeola:
Neither is scented.
Also, please turn off the lights so the apartment can feel cozy. I want you and Lulu to feel at home. Seldom do the two of you come and visit me in Cape Town.

Mom:
It has been a long time. The city has changed.

Gone are the Coloreds who dominated the coast when I and your father lived here. They seem to enjoy the inland better – Safer for them I hope.

Anyway, please come and sit down and eat Adeola, sit down and tell us about your job and how you and Kofi are doing.
Lulu:
Where did you buy that necklace? Or is it a gift from Kofi?

Adeola:
No – This is from me! (?)

Lulu: (Embarrassed)
Oh excuse me.

Mom:
So, where is Kofi? Will he be saying hello?
Adeola:
Yes, he will be at the reception area with bells and whistles.

Mom:
Why not here, today or the wedding ceremony?

Adeola:
Who knows! (?)

Mom:
I thought the two of you were serious? Are you serious?

Adeola:
Mother, times are not the same as when you and dad met.
Mom:
This is why we wanted you to marry before you went to law school.

Adeola:
I was twenty-two! (?)

Mom:
You were young! I would receive five calls a week from men seeking your hand in marriage. Good men, young men, smart men, but instead you chose to wait so as to become a politician.

Adeola:
Am I a truck?
Declining in value?
No.
I’m a great woman.
Anyway, for the three years we have been together, I have never loved Kofi, and I have never DISCUSSED marriage with him.
I swear – that man has always acted as if I should have been DESPERATE – ready to jump – WAITING for him to say, “Let’s have a baby”. Absurd! He is the last man I want to have a child with.

– Oh finally! – We can stop our charade.
(Worried)
Mom:
What about babies?
Adeola:
Maybe? I know Lulu loves being pregnant but maybe I am not meant to have…

– I am the fifth Assistant to the Auditor-General of Cape Town, I am a modern woman, my ship has not sailed! I am not an old hag bound to live with cats for the rest of her life.

Mom:
You are thirty-one Adeola, thirty-one. You need to meet a man, know him for at least seven years, and then get married.

(Beat)
Having a child at thirty eight is too old. You are fighting against biology, nature.

Lulu:
Maybe seven years is a bit extreme mommy?

Mom:
If she is going to meet anyone outside our circle, Zulu or non-Zulu, she has to investigate him, know him, find out if he is insane.

Adeola:
Maybe I like them insane.

Mom:
Don’t say these things Adeola. How long will you be rebellious?

Adeola:
I didn’t know I was rebellious.

Lulu:
Mommy means that in a good way Adeola

Mom:
You could have escaped this final dash for the finish line if you married that Zulu form Pretoria…

Lulu:
Zaire’s older cousin. (Echoing agreeably)

Mom:
Yes! I saw him at a diner. He was driving a black Mercedes Benz north on the N4, headed to a rice convention in Mozambique, one week before I flew here. He was driving with his beautiful – beautiful wife. She smelled like lemon grass, had kind eyes, and smiled gently – a very high class woman.

Adeola:
He was forty something years old when I was nineteen; he was close to father’s age!

Mom: (Scolding)
You want to be a skinny fox or a fat lamb?

Adeola:
Don’t bait me Mother.

I want to be able to put my needs in the forefront, let them lead my light. I want my aspirations to be above a man or marriage.

– I need to make more hot water.

(Sitting down facing open kitchen)

Mom:
How will such an arrangement work? Stop thinking of yourself!

As usual, you lack the ability to choose.

Look at Lulu. She has two boys already. In two months, she will have another. Lulu has a lifelong companion and offspring, and you?

(Yelling at kitchen)

Lulu:
OUR boys are OUR world Adeola… and I don’t think you’re too old to have a child. My co-worker turned thirty-seven, five months ago. Now she’s pregnant with twins. Plus, she is Swedish so she gets paid maternity leave.

(Cleaning cups in open kitchen)

Adeola:

In Vitro fertilization?

Mom:

Of course, a woman that old is barren.

Lulu: (Direct)
No In Vitro, just a lot of trying.

Mom:

TRY not to make the water too hot for my tea by the way Adeola.

Adeola:
Just don’t drink it SILLY until it’s to your liking.

Mom:
Adeola, your presentation is all wrong. At the cooktop – of this delightful apartment – with its kitchen five feet from the front door – shut off the burner – take the tea pot upp from the hot burner gate – transfer it to a cold burner gate – wait five minutes, then serve.

Adeola:
You call it presentation I call it being pretentious. I haven’t lost all hope in people to believe they’re too stupid to avoid burning their tongues. If it is too hot, drink it later.

Mom:
Yet, it is not about drinking IT later, it is about a daughter making her mother’s life more advantageous. You show that by doing the little things Adeola.

(Adeola looks in the air, serves Iya tea and sits down directly opposite her.)
Adeola:
I’m not sure I’m a good enough woman to be a mom. I am not sure I want to be a mom.

Mom:
Listen! You are still smart and beautiful. However, you must learn how to choose. What you’re looking for is a man, a responsible, honorable man. At nineteen you had many options. Now you are older. You have a limited time to express your duty.

Adeola:
Duty mom? Duty? My life, how I choose to live it, isn’t a pre- approved script from the Zulu nation.

Mom:
Adeola! This is the path for a good life. It may avoid spectacular but it is a good life. This is all I want for you. This is all I and your father want for you.

Shaka God of War Voice:

Pregnancy escapes the mind of the intelligent woman as if it never exists and at other times can be literally a burden that weighs on top of her as a separate body.

Mamlambo Goddess of the River Voice:
However, as with all experience and memories it is all how one looks back at them that shapes their remembrance. Pregnancy can surely be seen in this light?

Shaka God of War Voice:
A horrible experience is universal. One knows it when one sees it.

Mom:
Well, maybe now you will take my advice Adeola?

Adeola:
What advice is that mother?

Mom:
If you cannot find what you want, do without.

The End

Feedback, honest, constructive, even brutal is welcomed. Sala Kahle! (Zulu – Stay well)

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One thought on “An African Play: “EVERYBODY DOES THAT”

  1. This was very well written. I like the characters and your writing style as well. This would be great play. I think we need more African centered plays and feature films. We need to write and produce our own stories and not rely on others to do so.

    Like

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