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Fats Dike at the Market

posted 9 Jul 2011, 14:59 by Robert McLaren
I read in The Star yesterday that there's a play by Fatima 'Fats' Dike at The Market Theatre, called So what's new? I immediately smsed my daughter and said Hey, there's a play by Fats Dike on at The Market, shall we go? I don't know whether she knew anything about Fats Dike but she is a good daughter and she said yes, let's go. I am thrilled to hear that I shall be seeing a play by Fats and, I hope, meeting her after all these years - at least 35. I first met her when she was working at the Space Theatre in Cape Town in the 1970s. 

I am living right now on the property of Hildur Amato, the widow of my old friend and theatre colleague, Rob Amato, who worked closely with Fats. Rob and I met at Oxford, where we were both Rhodes Scholars - he from Natal and me from the Cape. We then co-operated in theatre when we returned to South Africa. While I was participateding in the exploits of Workshop '71 in Johannesburg, he founded the Imitha Players in East London and we invited their production of Oedipus up to Johannesburg. Rob later founded the non-racial Window Theatre in East London, where Workshop '71 also played, and still later the successor to The Spae, the People's Space. He financed S'ketch' Magazine toowhich I edited until Bra Sydney Sepamla took over. 

Where I am living is where he was living when he died in a car crash not very long ago. I miss him. It's a pity we lost touch when I went to Ethiopia and then being in Zimbabwe after that did not help.

Rob worked with Fats on her epic play on Xhosa history, The Sacrifice of Kreli, and directed it. The part of Kreli, if I remember well, was played by another playwright and actor, Julius Makwedini Mtsaka. I wonder where he is. After Cape Town the play came up to Johannesburg and played on the main stage at The Market. It deserves a revival and reminds us that there is a great deal of South African history which is perhaps not being done justice on the South African stage - or am I just ignorant, having been out of the country all these years?