My Children! My Africa!

My Children! My Africa! Study Guide

My Children! My Africa! is a two-act play written by Athol Fugard, a white South African playwright who has written over 30 plays. There are only three characters in the play: a white South African teenage girl, a black South African teenage boy, and the teen boy's teacher. The play takes place in Camdembo, South Africa in 1985, and it explores the rising tensions between black people and the apartheid government, and more generally between blacks and whites at the end of apartheid South Africa.

The play was first performed at the Market Theatre, Johannesburg, in 1989, with Fugard directing. The play was performed in the early 1990's in London and New York City.

My Children! My Africa! was greatly influenced by Fugard's own experience as a white person in South Africa during apartheid. Like Isabel, the white character in the play, Fugard grew up with black South Africans working for his family, and was affected by the way others saw his relationship specifically to a worker named Sam with whom he was close. As an adult, Fugard worked with a group of amateur black actors in a ghetto outside Johannesburg, which got him interested in doing activist theater specifically critiquing segregation.

Fugard's daughter Lisa starred as Isabel in the early London and New York City productions of My Children! My Africa!, which was fitting since Fugard has said in interviews that much of the play was based on watching his daughter grow up and navigate issues of color, politics, and guilt in apartheid era South Africa.