Hayani (2 stars)

This article is from 2014


Two-handed exploration of post-apartheid South Africa at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Hayani means 'home' in one of the languages sprinkled throughout this sprawling journey through the post-apartheid years in South Africa. And while performers Atandwa Kani and Nat Ramabulana have an abundance of energy and talent, their show could benefit from a firm directorial hand shaping the material for an audience that is unfamiliar with the fine detail of what that home feels like.

If you are going to jump between very specific characters and situations, those of us who do not know one Joburg suburb from another need a bit more help. It took me ages to work out which character was black and which was white. And while the comedy of some was universal – a white teenager trying to be down with his cool black friends, speaking the South African equivalent of gangsta Mockney, is always going to be funny – other bits sailed over my head.

It was exasperating: these guys had a powerful presence and it was clear that those who knew the references loved what they saw. But for the less knowledgeable among us, it was an opportunity missed.

Assembly George Square, 0131 623 3030, until 25 Aug (not 11), £13 (£12).


  • 2 stars

South African Season | Drama for Life and Assembly Hayani is an original play reflecting on the meaning of home in the context of South Africa since its transition. The play explores the stories of two young South African males who both travel back home and in doing so they journey towards better understanding of who they…