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Saturday, April 16, 2016


(Zahir Bassa, Tommy Lee Delport & Hoosen Farouk Sayed)

Well-researched and in-depth story about the complexity of human emotions. (Review by Keith Millar)

Sands of Palestine is a weighty human rights drama which examines the misery and suffering that is caused by the Palestinian/Israeli conflict.

Produced by GreenLight Productions, playwright Yusuf Haffejee’s latest offering can be seen at the Seabrooke’s Theatre on the campus of Durban High School.

The play tells the story of Abu Hamza, a simple Palestinian farmer (impressively played by Hoosen Farouk Sayed) and his son Moosa (played by Zahir Bassa) who are attempting to get to Jerusalem to claim an inheritance.

These two have lost everything. Driven off their land by the Israeli army they now live in a refugee camp in town of Hebron. Abu Hamza’s other son was killed as he was a suspected terrorist, and his wife died of a heart attack. Although Moosa suggests that she died of heartbreak.

Despite all these tribulations, Abu Hamza remains a compassionate, dignified and philosophical person with a surprisingly positive outlook on life. He son Moosa on the other hand is not so forgiving. He is an angry young man with militant tendencies who cannot accept what has happened to them.

They are detained overnight at a checkpoint by a young, nervous Israeli soldier, Joshua, (played by newcomer Tommy Lee Delport). During the long night, he begins to interact with Abu Hamza and shares a meal with him. Moosa, however, makes no secret of his hatred for Joshua and the system that makes him a stranger in his own country. The tension is heightened when Moosa’s hidden agenda is revealed and the conflict between father and son on the one hand and Joshua and Moosa on the other intensifies.

Playwright Yusuf Haffejee travelled to Palestine to research this production and as a result has produced a work which has a good feeling of realism. This is assisted by veteran theatre practitioner Vivian Moodley’s astute direction and also by an impressive backdrop of a desolate boulder-strewn desert.

All three actors give good honest performances and certainly don’t let the production down. Most impressive is Hoosen Farouk Sayed who uses all his experience in a convincing performance.

For me the production is too long at over two hours. I feel it could be pared down considerably and not lose any of the impact, or the message of the piece.

Sands of Palestine is not just about the Israeli/Palestine dispute but is also a story about the complexity of human emotions. It is an important production as it gives well-researched and in-depth information about one of the sides in this volatile conflict.

Sands of Palestine runs until April 24 with performances from Monday to Thursday at 19h30; Friday and Saturday at 20h00 and Sunday at 18h30. Tickets R100 available from Al Ansaar Book & Media Centre in Overport or through Vivian Moodley on 072 567 7201.

Seabrooke’s Theatre is situated at the Durban High School (DHS), St Thomas Road, Musgrave. – Keith Millar