Windhorse, by Tristan Jacobs

Lisez ce texte en Français

Windhorse summary

An ancestor, floating in the wind, discovers he is being called by a descendant 500 years after his death. This descendant is not what the man expected – and that is just as lovely as the ever-changing wind.

Inspired by recent discussions around the `Rainbow Nation’ in South Africa.

A man in 1500s garb.

ANTHONY:   I love the wind. I really love the wind. Everything about it. How it dries clothes, cools you down… but most importantly the feeling it carries. It’s like ‘feeling’ personified. Wait, not personified… elementified. You know, the essence of feeling. It’s the     moment when you are there in the wind, just there (because somehow it arrives of its own accord) and the unassailable, uncatchable quality of it bubbles in and out of your ears.

That. I really love that.

No matter how tired I feel, or felt, a little encounter with the wind always perked me up. Perks?

It’s like the wind carried away the aches and hardships with it. I suppose it’s like a breath of heaven, or something like heaven… which is probably where I am now, or somewhere similar.

If the wind was, and is, something like heaven, or something like the wandering spirits of our ancestors, what does that make me? A fart?

If all of my ancestors, and all of my descendants, fan out around me in wafts of wind – how do I see them? Hear them?

A knock

And that?


I remember people saying physical death is just a rite of passage. Right on. Breath and bones, that’s all I was.

But I know farming, knew…

I don’t know if I’ve got this ‘tense’ thing down. I can’t decide when I am.

Everything seems far less linear than it did earlier – just now – 100 years ago?

Day in day out, I’m agreeing with crusaders just to stop the Portuguese three-point-trade system from killing me and my family on the East coast. Other men and women are simply wiped away in the most shameful way. I covet my little portion of the Zambezi river and make sure Vasco da Gama and his men don’t burn me in my sleep like the other pilgrims.

A knock

It would be nice to speak to someone I think… I thought?

Ah! A well-placed dream visitation! That is what I need to do… like catching a ball. Wham! In the pocket! I’ll just pop into someone’s dream. Better still… Do I have a shrine? Someone praying for me?

Maybe one of my grandchildren survived long enough to see their grandchildren (and so on and so on); maybe THEY then had to flee Mozambique (with their European tendencies) four hundred years after me. Perhaps, in a time someone calls ‘now’ I have someone calling me… could that be…?

A knock

Foundations. Settlements. All waiting for the wind to challenge them, shake and test them. Break them.

I break them. I am the wind.

A knock.

Come in!


Or maybe it is me that should come in… or ‘go’?

1 O.S:             I’m not sure he wants to see me. I don’t really know him. Perhaps we should try tomorrow.

ANTHONY:   A woman?

2 O.S:             Ngomso? Hayi, sissi. Now is now. He is here. Maybe he is scared. You said he is not… African?

ANTHONY:   This is a man.

1 O.S:             Ewe mhlekazi. My father was a white man, European. His line goes back through Mozambique and then across the sea.

2 O.S:             And then the line goes even further back and returns across the sea, to here. He will come. Vumani bo!

ANTHONY:   I am not sure I understand. But I am not sure I understand the wind either, or the rain…

One of the sailors once brought a tale home to my family – of shamans from far away who practice the technique of Windhorse. This is that… calling?

I cannot be late. My father was never late, prided himself on punctuality. Yes. My father.

A knock


Door. Where is the…? Closer.

Wind, where is the wind? I will ride you into a collision with the living, and they with me…

He stands.


Artistic career

Tristan holds an M.A. in Contemporary Performance and completed his postgraduate studies in Acting, Writing and Dramatic Literature. He has worked for the National English Literary Museum as an archivist in Drama Manuscripts and currently Lectures at the AFDA School in Johannesburg. Tristan has been published in various academic journals, and presented his research in Toulouse, Helsinki, Tokyo, Cape Town and Malmo. He contributed to the ASSITEJ Inspiring a generation programme in Paris in 2013. As a playwright he has written and performed original work at various Festivals and theatres in South Africa – a few have been published. He has played 1-day-a-play with ASSITEJ France since its inception in 2014.