The Story of Nat Nakasa coming to PACOFS

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THANDI XABA

Nat Nakasa has been on the lips of many South Africans. The late journalist, also known as “The Native from Nowhere” is among the many that weaved the multifaceted tapestry of our country’s history.

Reports say Nat grew terribly homesick while studying at Harvard USA and ultimately jumped to his death from a building in New York on July 14, 1965.

Nakasa had grown so miserable that two days before he died he stated to a friend "I can’t laugh any more, and when I can’t laugh, I can’t write." Fifty years later, his remains have finally been brought back home.

The City of Roses will be given a chance to watch a moving account about his life, in the form of a production titled “A Distance Drum” at PACOFS on the 13th October.
It movingly re-enacts the story of a talented writer who, after tirelessly fighting for black South African’s standing in society, eventually succumbed to his own darkness, sadly missing out on the victory that his people later savoured.

Christiaan Schoombie, an actor from Alberton will be playing the apartheid policeman who loathed Nakasa and subjected him to constant contempt.

“Stage is still my first love,” he explains. Schoombie passionately adds that he likes the overall instrumental challenge that stage offers. “I think an actor’s instrument is always strengthened if they do stage.”

The University of Cape Town graduate says he has always known from a young age he wants to act, “In Grade 3 I watched the film version of “Richard III” featuring Laurence Olivier with my dad and that pretty inspired me to be an actor, I was nine years old at the time.”

While husband and father of two, Nat Ramabulana who’s taken up the role of the main character says he didn’t know he’ll be an actor, yet affirms it’s become what he “insanely loves.”

“When I enrolled at Wits University for Drama I just acted in everything. Five minute plays, 10 minute plays, hour plays. I wanted to feel, smell, know, touch and experience it all. Fortunately people recognised me, recognised the energy, the drive and ambition,” he enthuses.
The actors share high respect for their director, PACOFS Artistic Director Jerry Mofokeng.

“Every director is different. Jerry has a very poetic and eloquent way of giving his directions and trying to give you a sense of the under tones that he wants you to play throughout the scene, “says Christiaan.

Nat adds warmly, “He (Jerry) just gets it. He lived it and was there. What I love about him he is able to direct the white apartheid side with much care but also communicating the brutality of it, like he communicates brutality in such a compassionate way.”