‘My Koek Is Moeg’ Packs a Punch [opinion]

Brumelda English delivered a tour de force in Jacques Mushaandja’s one-woman play, ‘My Koek is Moeg’.

The slight young thespian’s portrayal of Poppie Plaatjies took the large crowd at the National Theatre of Namibia’s (NTN) Backstage on Tuesday night on the eventful journey of her life.

They were taken through the ups and downs of the life of a young woman who has been neglected, used, abused, objectified and brutalised by a phalanx of men who stumbled into her life, trampled all over her heart and shattered her vagina.

It’s not a pretty picture.

Poppie’s story is set in Khomasdal but could be the story of any young woman from any lower income community in Namibia or anywhere in the world.

The monologue tells the story of a life with few highs and many gut-wrenching lows. It portrays all the struggles that any woman suffers today, including the uncertainty and insecurity, the abuse – both physical and emotional – and abandonment. It leaves you with little doubt that Poppie’s koek (vagina) can’t be anything else but moeg (tired).

On the surface, Poppie comes across as just another airhead with a penchant for material things, but under the hair curlers, make-up and fake smile is really just another woman looking for affection and belonging. The live music is fitting and comes in just the right amount at just the right time. It merely drops its atmosphere and again unobtrusively beats its retreat.

And so does the stage. The half circle of unassuming stacked carton boxes in the background gives the impression that it might be a fragile boundary between the lone actor and the world out there. There isn’t much else on the stage and there’s no need for it. A box is called a doos, which is also a euphemism for vagina in Afrikaans. There are also match boxes symbolising each relationship which Poppie packs in and out of another unmarked box. Clever!

English captured and held the audience and made them part of her mostly foul fable. The few slurs and fumbles in her delivery could easily be forgiven as she was mostly magnificent.

Mushaandja’s script lulls the audience into a false sense of ease at first with Poppie twirling around and establishes her as a young woman in love.

English delivers the comedy with expert ease.

But the heartbreak creeps up on you without warning and slaps you in the face with scant warning. It moers en donners (assaults) you and just for a little while you forget English is but a marionette controlled by a script so well researched and so aptly put together that you see the lives of your relatives and acquaintances acted out on a stage.

‘My Koek is Moeg’ fully deserved the standing ovation English and Mushaandja received.

Source : The Namibian