Performed by: Mbali Malinga

No director listed

No playwright listed

Complexion is about a girl who grows up in the township facing different challenges at different stages of her life. We see the world through her eyes from the time she is born, we are introduced to the various people in her life who shape and mould the complexities of her complexion.

I developed this play with an interest in telling stories about the world I know and grew up in. Not only did I want to tell a story about a young black girl who grows up in a township, I also wanted to speak back to how the township is a mechanism that informs, consumes and cripples children. Using some of my own personal narratives, observations and investigations I created a 6 minute work which I performed for my 4th year performance exam. I was encouraged to extend and develop the performance text. In the process I have been intrigued by how social systems have been normalized and how these norms have a way of shaping and affecting humans. Do we have the agency to change ourselves and/or our context? TO BE OR NOT TO BE… has been the leading theme of this play; to survive or not to survive? To be oppressed or to not be oppressed? To be …


30 minutes
Recommended Age:
13 years – 19 years
Recommended Grade:
Grade 8 – Grade 12
English (first language) / Zulu (second language)
Curriculum Connection:
Creative Arts, Dramatic Arts, Home/Additional Language, Life Orientation/Life Skills
Themes Covered:
Abuse, Identity, Poverty, Violence