Starring Paul Slabolepszy & Chi Mhende
Directed By Bobby Heaney
South Africa – the early summer of 1996. Two very different worlds collide in the most unexpected of places – Fordsburg – Johannesburg. This powerful play will strike a chord with everyone surviving from day to day in the promise of what might have been and what has come to pass.
It is 1996 and Thandeka (Chi Mhende) – a Manhattan, New York, librarian – decides it is time to return to her South African roots. All she has to accompany her on the journey are stories, images, half formed pictures in her head of her homeland and her people, described to her in loving detail long ago by her now deceased mother and father.
The single, most highly anticipated event of Thandeka’s homecoming pilgrimage is a visit to the house in which she was born. Arriving at 74 Pioneer Street in Fordsburg (an old suburb of Johannesburg) clutching an out of date, faded street map, she is saddened to find the homestead no longer there. In its place, is a run-down Used Car lot, owned by “Foxy Freddie” Volschenk (Paul Slabolepszy)– a convivial middle-aged white South African, ex police reservist and lover of second hand automobiles. As a fascinating evening unfolds, fluctuating alternately between wild humour and infinite sadness, dark pain and scorching shafts of madness, Thandi is given more than just a taste of what life must have been like for her beleaguered family in those not-so distant, never-to-be-forgotten days.
This unlikely encounter between these two brittle, delicate-but-damaged souls takes us to unexplored regions of the battered, still smarting South African psyche. Fordburg’s Finest is a story of Homecoming, of Healing. Ultimately, it is a story of Hope.