It is hard to dream in my country now; the dry air makes it hard to do so.

We are all swimming in the desert not realizing that we are blind. We cannot see the difference between water and sand. It is because we have accepted and made normal what is not meant to be.

Our wounds rushed the healing process; they did not heal, now the wetness of the wound is showing off. We pretend we can’t see it. We think of excuses that will get us through the day. It’s because we were told to take it slowly, one day at a time.


The theatre I imagine for South Africa understands the past and acknowledges how our history has wronged some South Africans.

For a very long time we have been made to believe that when you speak a certain language (English), when you do theatre in that language, it is accepted. It gives the work a certain professional status. In this country we have eleven official languages and yet it is rare to see Xhosa, Zulu, Sotho, and all the other languages on stage.

The theatre I imagine for South Africa speaks many languages.

The theatre I imagine for South Africa claims and gives a mouth to a voice that has been hidden,


kicked to the side.

It has lost its dignity, and far worse — it does not believe itself a story worthy of being told.

The theatre I imagine for South Africa restores that dignity and gives it a home.

It speaks about the beauty of a nation, the richness of the land. About material beauty, beauty in spirit, and the depth of culture.

I long for texture—a true reflection of our existence.

Different voices to be heard.

I hope for a future that creates space for all

with enough means for us to do that.

All these different ingredients form the dish that is my imagined South Africa.

About the Author

Theatre-maker Thando Doni learned his craft at the Media and Arts Access Centre (AMAC) and with Magnet Theatre in Cape Town. He has performed extensively with Magnet, including in The Grave, Trojan Horse Story, Looking Inside (commissioned by the Human Rights Media Centre), national tours of Inxeba lomphilisi and Ingcwaba lendoda lise cankwe ndlela; in Nicola Elliott’s Proximity, Loss and Having; and at the Bushfire Festival in Swaziland. Doni has also worked with the Actors Voice Theatre Company, Masibambisane Youth Theatre Organisation, Emlanjeni Theatre Productions, and the Manyanani Entertainers. The Capetonian is a resident actor at Bonfire Theatre Company. Nominated for Best Director at the Baxter’s Zabalaza Theatre Festival in 2011, Doni won Best Director in 2012 for Mhla Salamana. In 2017, he and Mandla Mbothwe co-curated Sabamnye noMendi, a performance installation honoring the spirits of the African men whose lost their lives when their ship, the SS Mendi, sank in the English Channel at the height of World War I.