THEATRE IN MOZAMBIQUE
Column by Vitor RAPOSO,
director of the Tambo Tambulani Tambo Center in Pemba
Comedy excerpts – 1.
In Mozambique most of the comedies have the “curandeiro” as a character. Here are some excerpts of some plays.
The drum roll gives the meaning of the mythic charge of the ceremony.
Curandeiro- What’s wrong?
Father – We heard that our daughter has gone to town. But the truth is that we don’t know, she just disappeared from home. She didn’t even greet the groom who had paid with money and two goats for the initiation ceremony of the girls. You, who are older, find a way to bring our daughter back….
The sound of the drums can be still heard for a little while and …
Curandeiro- She must in the city, I can see it here, in the mirror.
Mother – Can I see it?
Curandeiro- No; You can’t! Otherwise it will ruin everything.
Mother-And what is she doing?
Curandeiro- Don’t ask too many questions. Do you have the capulana (the colored cloth that every Mozambican woman has –translator’s note)?
Curandeiro- And a hen?
Curandeiro- Good. Take this medicine and leave it in her bedroom. She’ll be back!
Mother- So she will come back?
Curandeiro- Don’t you have faith?
Curandeiro- Done; go away.
Denunciation drumming (Dondocha)
They start playing the drums again and soon after the tail of a black animal starts to vibrate. This time it vibrates in upward direction. Ngori calls his assistant and orders him to climb the nearby coconut tree. The man also drinks the liquid from the bottle and spits on the plant stem. Then he climbs the tree. Reaching the top, he asks which coconuts he should take, and Ngori shows him the right one. The coconut falls onto the ground and it is ordered to be opened. An operation that requires certain care. The necessary operations are performed and the coconut is opened at one end. Exactly the one holding the fruit attached to the tree. Ngori puts his hand into the fruit and takes out the old man by the collar. The old man succeeds in escaping from the hands of Ngori once again and he goes to hide in a mangrove.
Ngori- Let’s wait. The tide will rise and he will come out. You can’t stay in the mangrove for long.
Shortly after the old man appears with water at his chest. When he tries to return to land he turns into a quadruped. A group of women approaches the old man screaming and throwing stones at him. The old man jumps back into the water.
Woman 1 – Come here you scoundrel; Today you will have to explain why you’ve slept with me without me realizing it. Who told you that I was your wife? Bandit! You mustn’t come anymore; you can die there.
Evidence to date
Malindi comes by motorcycle, stops and asks:
Malindi- Excuse me, gentlemen. Haven’t you seen a dog around here? It’s a big dog; We were here peacefully and suddenly it disappeared. It was clear that it was a dog that had lost its owner. I talked to it and it licked me, the dog was happy and we had fun. It is true! I, Malindi, can’t lie, I’m a carpenter.
Ruquia- I don’t want any dogs in here at home!
Ruquia-Will you sleep with it and then come to bed with me?
Malindi- How could I do such a thing, Ruquia?
Ruquia- Never mind! I don’t want you to stink of dog lick.
Malindi- Well! I will take a shower, woman! I don’t intend to exchange you for the dog.
Ruquia goes to the “curandeiro” and she is examined in the traditional ways.
Ruquia- I have a problem at home. My husband has married a dog.
Curandeiro- He has married a dog, how?
Ruquia- A dog has come to our house and now my husband no longer thinks of me; he just thinks of the dog.
Curandeiro- But has your husband spoken about it with the family?
Ruquia- I don’t know.
Curandeiro- Does your husband usually sleep with the dog?
A typical ritual takes place.
Curandeiro- Madam, your husband is ill.
Ruquia- How do you know?
Curandeiro- I am the “curandeiro”! () Do you have a razor?
Ruquia-Yes; I have it (taking it out)
Curandeiro- And is it new?
Ruquia- Yes, it’s new!
They proceed with the traditional vaccine.
Curandeiro- Madam, let the dog stay at home. Your husband needs the dog, but you are his wife.
Ruquia- (With some doubt, stammering) – I wouldn’t like that scoundrel to go and look for a third wife.
Curandeiro- What did you say?
Ruquia- Nothing, I was talking to myself.