The darling of South African stage, television and film, Sandra Prinsloo, returns in her latest hit production Kamphoer – die verhaal van Susan Nell, directed by the internationally acclaimed Lara Foot.
The drama is based on the best-selling and debut novel Kamphoer by Francois Smit and the non-fiction publication The Boer Whore by Nico Moolman, and has been adapted for the stage by Cecilia du Toit, in collaboration with Sandra Prinsloo and Lara Foot. It also marks the first collaboration between these two renowned and multi-award-winning women – director Foot (Tshepang, Karoo Moose) and Prinsloo (Oscar en die pienk tannie, Moedertaal), widely regarded as one of South Africa’s most beloved actresses.
This powerful solo-production is very significant at a time when gender-based violence seems to have reached critical levels with outcries from all walks of life across the country. This has led to a national debate and the narrative of Kamphoer could not have been more hard-hitting and relevant.
The play premiered as the flagship production of the 2019 Free State Arts Festival in Bloemfontein recently, playing to great success with sold out houses as well as overwhelming audience and media acclaim, receiving five-star reviews. It was awarded Best National Theatre Debut at the festival’s Blinker Awards. It was also nominated for four awards (Best Actress, Best Director, Best performance in a solo production and Best Overall Production) at Aardklop National Arts Festival in 2019. It was one of the best selling productions in Bloemfontein and completely sold out at Aardklop even before the start of the festival.
Beeld wrote, “Three women carry this cracker of a production. Sandra Prinsloo completely surrenders to the role.” Stronk, the official festival newspaper, described it as “a powerful drama that hits hard” and “Prinsloo’s tour de force performance as Susan Nell left the audience dazed. Tears welled up in many eyes after the standing ovation.”
Francois Smith, author of Kamphoer also had high praise for the production saying, “Intense and immensely gripping. Every aspect has worked well together, from the adaption, to the directing and Sandra Prinsloo’s insightful interpretation. Bravo.”
Based on a true story, South African theatre legend Prinsloo appears in the challenging role of Susan Nell, who faced an unspeakable ordeal during the Anglo-Boer War (1899 – 1902) in the Winburg concentration camp. Following her father’s death during the war, Susan and her mother end up in a concentration camp where she is brutally raped and left for dead by two British officers and a joiner.
She survives the ordeal and qualifies as a psychiatric nurse in the Netherlands. Sixteen years later, she travels to England during the First World War and while serving at a military hospital for shell-shocked soldiers, she recognises a patient as one of her rapists. With this unfortunate reunion, Susan is once again confronted with the pain and humiliation of her past.
2019 is the 120th anniversary of the Anglo Boer War and the production pays tribute to this era and has been made possible by the support of KunsStig. The novel Kamphoer was nominated for the Jan Rabie Rapport Award, an ATKV Award and was shortlisted for the 2018 Sunday Times Literary Awards.
From the producers of the multi-award-winning Die reuk van appels, this latest production – based on the responses at is premiere – is set to enthral audiences throughout South Africa. There is an age restriction of 14 years.
Feedback from media and other sources:
“The transition from traumatised camp daughter to involved psychiatrist is intensely emotional, performed by Prinsloo with youthful surrender and existential doubt. With her harrowing recall of the rape in the camp, she places the blinding injustice against women in the concentration camps right in the spotlight.” – Naòmi Morgan, Die Volksblad
“Five stars” – Naòmi Morgan, Die Volksblad
“Intense and immensely gripping. Every aspect has worked in its favour, from the adaption, the directing and Sandra Prinsloo’s insightful interpretation. Bravo.” – Francois Smith, author of Kamphoer
“A master class without equal. You will not find better theatre than this. If you miss it, you will be undeniably poorer for it.” – Jan-Jan Joubert, Maroela Media
“Prinsloo’s tour de force performance as Susan Nell left the audience dazed. Tears welled up in many eyes after the standing ovation.” – Charles Smith, Netwerk24
“Sandra’s absolute mastery of silence, change in tempo, and sensitive pauses cannot be easily matched.” – Corrie Geldenhuys, research fellow at the University of the Free State’s ETFB
“A powerful work of art. Sandra Prinsloo was magnificent, wonderfully complemented by the gripping set and props, and directed by the lauded Lara Foot. What a privilege it was to hear those words from François Smith again; those words (lyrical and also heartbreaking) that moved me so much the first time I read the book. ” – Murray la Vita, facebook
“Sandra Prinsloo delivers a tour de force performance. Emotionally affecting in its searing, almost brutal honesty .” – Thereza Smith, WeekendSpecial
“The thing that makes this play though, what keeps your eyes glued to the stage even when you know it is a nasty, brutal story you are about to hear, is Prinsloo’s intense, emotionally affecting performance.” – Thereza Smith, WeekendSpecial
Artists: Sandra Prinsloo