Book Review: Donald Molosi’s collection of plays We Are All Blue
Donald Molosi’s book of plays, We Are All Blue is a delight of a collection. Pinned on historical events, Mr Molosi’s assessment of history, treatment of reality and the artistic colouring of the many events that emanate from his home country, Botswana provided the rich canvas for this rich portrait he has succeeded in creating. This collection is a tour guide to the ugly, bitter and eventual breakthrough that became of one of Africa’s brightest countries which was in the forefront of blurring racial lines. Humanity should be our only race and Botswana is that reality.
The first play and most prominent in this slim yet culturally rich collection is the play Blue, Black and White. This play, a reverence play for the late Sir King Seretse Khama and Lady Ruth couldn’t have been created any better. Donald’s show of literary prowess turned what was Africa’s most talked about marriage into a playfulness that still doesn’t lose its essence.
Donald Molosi in Blue, Black and White has told a story so beautiful. Reality could be uninteresting but the art put in the Sir Seretse and Lady Ruth Khama’s love story is so much that it makes one fall in love and stay there. I could not have imagined any better way to tell this beautiful story of love for education, for a woman and then for country without the use of such cast that comprise of a younger generation whose view of history as an engaging field would help mould them into better people.
This story is important and celebratory of our own home grown triumph as Africans. This story, though a reverence play of Sir Seretse and Lady Ruth Khama reminds us of how the little details completes the picture, how we could walk into what may transform us for good playfully. Imagine how Sir Seretse met Ruth and their love for jazz.
In Sir Seretse’s voice: “We all notice race but it does not have to take precedence over other things.” Life is so important and vast that if we concentrate on how to harness our individual strength into a collective one, we can overcome all obstacles. We can build a better world for our children.
The characters are detailed in creation. The teacher is a symbol for a witty leadership – when such is in place, magic happens in the classroom. And though Lefika should be my choice character because of his story, the indifference of Frank spurs more questions and conflict which I feel is great.
However, I feel the constant use of flashback, though it is a tool for this style of presentation, got to me. And the technical mix-up, where Lady Ruth had to lead a flashback to the secondary school where Sir Seretse attended even though she was not in the story as of then, looks like a technical error.
The playwright has to be commended for his use of the local language to give the play the homeliness that it deserved. It was also splendid to read of Bessie Head. The inclusion was beautiful.
The love story is beautiful and the use of actual words of Sir Seretse and Sir Masire were great tools. However, it would have been great to read about some shortcomings of Sir Seretse Khama and not all his glories but that is just me being curious.
In the second play, a somewhat continuation of the first play, Boemo becomes a figure for the questioning of the division in Africa, Europe’s conscious act of profiting from Africa’s loss of itself. Motswana: Africa, Dream Again, if read as the first play may sink as experimentally and artistically bright but when read as the second play, it struggles to win the heart and shine. The memoir of Boemo reveals a lot, of the fight against HIV/Aids, of Philly Lutaaya’s contribution to creating massive awareness, it also discusses boarder, the need to make them invisible. It however relied heavily on the events of the previous play, like a work done to only make a book more voluminous – a work that if worked on, with more time and the exploring of its uniqueness would turn out equally great.
Donald has done a great job.
Bura-Bari Nwilo is the author of A Tiny Place Called Happiness. He lives in Nsukka, Nigeria.