This October, as part of Black History Month, a brand new play will be performed in Hope Mill Theatre. Forgotten Voices tells the remarkable real-life story of Eva Moorhead Kadalie, the widow of South Africa’s first national black trade union leader, Clements Kadalie (1896-1951). For over three decades, the couple fought for freedom – a long time before Nelson Mandela rose to prominence.
For over three decades, the couple fought for freedom – a long time before Nelson Mandela rose to prominence.
The play is set in 1956, following the death of her husband. Eva is contemplating leaving South Africa following their thirty-year fight against racism. Reflecting on her life and the sacrifices that both she and her husband made, Eva is unsure if she should board the boat to England.
Spanning a turbulent time in South African history, the play reflects on the experiences of the 1919 dock strike at Cape Town; the creation and growth of the Industrial and Commercial Union, and the passing of the 1927 Native Administration Act, which made it illegal to challenge white rule. Always ready to stand up and challenge white privilege and racial injustice, Eva was a strong, resilient woman – way ahead of her time.
Written by Eva’s grandson, David Moorhead, Forgotten Voices is a one-woman show with Manchester-based performer Shareesa Valentine (Band of Gold, Hollyoaks, Dumping Ground and Last Tango in Halifax) taking the role of Eva.
Of the play, writer David Moorhead says, “My grandmother was glamorous and warm-hearted but beneath lay a complex person, whose struggles were immense. Her political contribution in terms of support and sacrifice were immense but completely ignored. I felt it was time to hear and celebrate the story of Eva Moorhead Kadalie. She was a woman who refused to give up. I am proud to be her grandson. ”
Black History Month is all about sharing, celebrating and understanding Black heritage and culture.
Now in its 34th year, Black History Month is all about sharing, celebrating and understanding Black heritage and culture – and uncovering those stories which have so often been overlooked or ignored. Up until now, Eva’s story has been forgotten by history – which is so often the fate of women – and especially those of colour. Forgotten Voices offers the perfect opportunity to reflect on Eva Moorhead Kadalie’s life – the struggles and the joy – and her fight for freedom.