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PRESS: Herman Lategan’s memoir, HOERKIND, now onstage

Margit Meyer-Rödenbeck


The award-winning theatre-creator Margit Meyer-Rödenbeck, has adapted the Green Point journalist and writer Herman Lategan’s bestselling Afrikaans memoir, Hoerkind (Penguin), into a play. It will première at the Suidoosterfees on 29 April held in Artscape, after which it will travel to other venues.

Acclaimed actor Geon Nel to star in HOERKIND.
Acclaimed actor Geon Nel to star in HOERKIND.

The writing style of the book does not have a literary slant, it is more like a fireside-chat, and the Afrikaans will not be difficult for English-speaking theatregoers to understand.

The title Hoerkind refers to the derogatory term used against him as a child, as Lategan was born in the Sixties out of wedlock. He writes about his early years growing up in colourful boarding houses full of outsiders in Tamboerskloof.

At six he had to go to an orphanage, because his mother was too poor to raise him. Later his mother marries, his stepfather shoots at him and tries to rape him. At 13, he ends up in the clutches of a paedophile, who was a leading South African arts journalist. Both his parents became alcoholics and died young. He, too, became dependent on alcohol and drugs. At one point he sleeps on the streets.

One night he is held hostage in his apartment and stabbed with a knife. He almost lost his leg in a car accident after visiting Mannetjies Roux's farm and was out of action for almost a year.

He makes many mistakes but learns valuable lessons as his life evolves. This is not a story of self-pity; it is one of endurance against all odds.

Meyer-Rödenbeck says: "In this play (75 minutes long) we get to know Herman as a little boy who lives with his mother, who he adores. But circumstances make it impossible for him to stay with her. His life path has many twists and turns and very often things unravel. The continuous theme is one of a person who, despite everything, keeps moving forward with conviction.”

The editor and journalist, Chris Roper, wrote: “Ostensibly the story of Herman Lategan’s life as an illegitimate child and troubled adult, growing up, surviving and ultimately thriving in pre-and post-apartheid South Africa, Hoerkind is also the biography of a city. The carnivalesque trauma of Lategan’s youth and the vicissitudes of his adulthood are mirrored in the fractured historical evolution of Cape Town. The book presents both in a way that is loving and forgiving, but without losing sight of some hard and familiar realities. Fun to read, emotionally complex, and deeply satisfying, Hoerkind is more than just the story of a life. It’s also a paean to possible futures.”

Meyer-Rödenbeck will direct the play and the acclaimed actor Geon Nel plays the lead.

The actor and writer Francois Toerien adapted the text, the assistant director and stage manager is Jeanne Steenkamp, the soundtrack is by Coenraad Rall and the set-design by Gerrit Snyman.

Made possible by: Suidoosterfees. (No Under 18: Language and Content)




APRIL 29 AT 8:30 PM & MAY 1 AT 11:30 AM

BOOK: Computicket


MAY 16-18 AT 8:30 PM

Book: 021 979 1911/


MAY 19 AT 7:00 PM



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