Play: Yours Abundantly, From Zimbabwe

 This powerful and thought-provoking play by Gillian Plowman is running at the Oval House Theatre (by Oval tube station on the northern line) until the 18th October.

Nell, a white British woman, spends a week on holiday in Zimbabwe. There she meets by chance a young orphan boy called Enock. He pursuades Nell to buy the beads he has made and during their conversation he tells her about his life and his desire to go to secondary school.

Nell sends money from her home in England and then finds that further requests for money come from extended members of Enock's family, Wilson, Portia and Pertunia. Nell's own daughter, Georgia, visits her and Nell reveals the extent to which she has been writing and sending money to these orphaned children. Georgia confronts her mother and tries to convince her that she is being taken for a ride and all the money in the world would only be a drop in the ocean. Nell reveals that for once in her life she feels wanted and loved by these youngsters.

One gathers that there is no love between mother and daughter. Nell's husband had left her for another woman some time ago and even Georgia felt abandoned and unloved by her mother hence the distance between the two women.

The headmaster of the secondary school, Boniface Masunda, then starts to correspond with Nell. He thanks her for sending the money and various items for the school in order to help these children. Boniface himself wants to give these children some hope in this otherwise dire country. He is very grateful to Nell and encourages her to come to Zimbabwe and work in his school. He talks about his wife, Violet Masunda, a brave and strong woman who spends most of her time helping other women and those caught up in the recent government 'move trash on' policy of clearing the shacks and shanty 'homes' where the very poor and unwanted people have been living. Violet is a woman with a strong social conscience. It is not long before the local police start to track her movements and eventually Boniface writes to Nell giving her the very sad news that his dear wife, Violet, was knocked down and killed by a police vehicle on her way back from helping Mugabe's 'unwanted'.

Enock leaves school and is keen to establish his own business. He makes a 'successful' but illegal journey to South Africa but on his return the second time, the strong current in the river drags him down stream and he drowns. The other three youngsters fade out of the play, one assumes to a similar fate. Boniface himself, carries on his late wife's good work and it is not long before he is arrested by the police and during his period in the cells suffers intense interrogation and beating. He dies very sadly. Nell is devastated by the news and decides to go to Zimbabwe to try and carry on Boniface's good work with the children. She feels at last that this is where she belongs. In the meantime, she and Georgia are reconcilled and Georgia accepts her mother's desire to be where she feels needed.

The play has a strong moral undertone intertwined by a need to be wanted and loved in Nell's case to a need in the youngsters in wanting an education and a chance to get a good job and money. They see Nell as a mother to them and this makes her happy. Boniface Masunda, whilst wanting the best for his pupils, needs to be wanted by these children whilst holding the esteemed position of headteacher of this rural secondary school. The only character who is giving and not wanting in return is the gentle Violet Masunda.

Definitely worth seeing before it finishes on October 18th.

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