Mother and Girl, by Lereko Mfono


In a shanty community lives a girl and her mother. Disobedience ensues as the girl looks to remedy the weight of her responsibility. Convenience may not always reap good reward and Girl soon realizes that in this short river tale.



NARRATOR: In the dilapidated, dry, shanty community of Renale-Matla lives 8 year old Girl with her Mother. Despite their many needs, great peace and warmth fills their shanty-home…

MOTHER: How was school today my girl?

GIRL: School was great, I passed my Mathematics test today, thanks to you!

MOTHER: Oh that is lovely! Don’t thank me Girl, you did very well studying on your own and listening to me

GIRL: Every sum we did together was in the paper, you are the best mother in the whole world.

Mother starts coughing painfully

GIRL: Mother, are you okay? What is the problem?

MOTHER: Yes I am, it’s just that I slipped into the river this morning whilst collecting water

GIRL: Oh no mother, the water is freezing this time of the year, you must have gotten a cold or fever. Please may I collect water for us tomorrow morning

MOTHER: No I am fine, don’t worry yourself my girl

GIRL: Please mother, I want to, just until your cough has stopped

MOTHER: Okay my girly, thank you. Just one thing, you must wait for the sun to rise before you leave for the river. And take care of the bucket, it’s the only one we have.



NARRATOR: At the crack of dawn, Girl wakes up

GIRL: Mother says I must wait for sunrise, but if I do so, I will be late for school, so I shall go now

NARRATOR: Girl takes the bucket and goes on her journey. She arrives at the river and dips her bucket in. However, she loses her grip and slips into the river, letting go of the bucket to balance herself on the river bank. Despair swallows her heart as she sees the buckets float away with the moving river breeze.

GIRL: Oh no, oh no, no more buckets, no more water, no more life for mother and I…



At home…

GIRL: Mother, mother I lost the bucket, I lost the bucket!

MOTHER: Girl what happened?

GIRL: I slipped into the river mother, and the bucket floated away

MOTHER: Did you leave at the time that I told you to leave?

GIRL: No mother, I left before sunrise

MOTHER: Why did you not listen to me my Girly?

GIRL: I was scared that I was going to get to school late Mother

MOTHER: Because you did not listen to me, we have no water. You cannot bath to go to school, and I cannot cook. But more than that, we have no water to drink anymore and to boil, so that this shanty-house house may be warm, why did you not listen to me Girl?

GIRL: I am sorry Mother, I am really sorry I did not think this would happen. I should have listened to you



NARRATOR: Later in the day Mother and Girl suffer thirst, hunger and the deep winter cold. Shaking and shivering, they cuddle together on Mother’s bed beneath the thin blankets. Worse of all, Girl begins to cough as well.

MOTHER: Oh, my girly you are now sick as well like your Mother

GIRL: I am sorry for not listening to you Mother, this is my entire fault

MOTHER: No it isn’t Girl. I should have explained to you that when the sun rises, all the slippery mud dries up at the river. That is why I wanted you to leave after sunrise.

GIRL: Mother, because my disobedience led us into this situation, I know my obedience to you will lead us out. Can you tell me what to do and I will do it, anything Mother and I promise to do it

MOTHER: Okay, I want you to do this one thing…promise me that you will always obey and listen to me?

GIRL: I promise Mother, never again shall I disobey you and not listen to you

Immediately, droplets of rain start to hit the roof…

GIRL: Mother it is raining! It is raining Mother!

MOTHER: Put all the cups outside and the pots and the bottles, my Girly has obeyed me and now we are helped! A cascade has come!

NARRATOR: And so Mother and Girl lived happily ever after together. 


Artistic career

Lereko Mfono is a South African actor, writer, drama facilitator.

His toured in Gcina Mhlophe’s Zanendaba Storytellers, and recently performed in Naledi Award nominated play Secret Ballot.

Lereko has participated in various national/international writing projects, such as the ASSITEJ Inspiring a Generation programme where he travelled to France, Paris in 2013 to develop his award-winning play Narrative Dreams. He was also among three playwrights to win the 2013 Imbewu-Scribe writer’s competition with his play Malebone.

He shares his love and passion for theatre across diverse spaces.