Regina Brooks -The Rebel and the Lover

Gone Native - The Life and Times of Regina Brooks
Gone Native – The Life and Times of Regina Brooks

Soweto Theatre proudly presents a brand-new musical, Gone Native – The Life and Times of Regina Brooks.

One of the most controversial figures of South African history is Regina Brooks, a woman who defied apartheid government laws and what was deemed a norm. She was a white woman who had several relationships with black men at a time where interracial relationships were deemed immoral, like many preposterous laws of the apartheid regime. Regina was the embodiment of both bravery and rebellion.

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In 1955 she wanted to be re-classified as coloured so she could continue living with black people and keep her child Thandi, whom she had with one of the few black men in her life. While living with Sergeant Richard Khumalo, she got arrested and that is what sparked the appeal for reclassification.

Regina Brooks and Thandi in 1955 by Bob Gasani (Bailey Seipel Gallery)
Regina Brooks and Thandi in 1955 by Bob Gasani (Bailey Seipel Gallery)

She was caught up in a grey area, rejected by both black and white people at a time when racial segregation was at its most jingoistic.

During the Soweto Uprisings of 1976, Regina moved to Eldorado Park, a then mostly coloured area. She recalls it was as discriminatory of black people as the white areas she came from, especially because she housed and hid black students during those times.

Throughout her life she had no sense of belonging, even though she felt at home with black people. Black people could not accept a white woman when they were oppressed by white people. White people found it easy to reject her as she betrayed their ideals.

A story of love, bravery and courage, Regina defied what was normal and chased her heart’s desires. She found love and lost it, had beautiful children, lived happily and tasted melancholy all at once. A story not so unique to South Africa, Regina escaped an abusive relationship and became a loving, devoted mother.

Soweto Theatre is proud to present this riveting tale of a living love-activist from August 8 to August 20, 2017.

Playing Regina Brooks is the talented Marietjie Bothma whose life is not so different.

With only Grade 7 education, Marietjie Bothma went from being homeless to being the speaker during President Jacob Zuma’s inauguration celebrations. It was her appearance on an pie advert speaking fluent Zulu that got tongues wagging. This multilingual woman, whose mother tongue is Afrikaans, can now speak 13 languages including several South African languages and German. She switches between Zulu, Xhosa and Sesotho with ease.

“She was the perfect Regina,” says Makhaola Ndebele, writer and director of the musical. “It was important for the female lead to be fully bilingual, and to be able to sing in Zulu.”

Musical direction will be by jazz legend and celebrated SA icon Dr Hugh Masekela.

Gone Native: The Life and Times of Regina Brooks will run at Soweto Theatre (Red) from August 8 to August 20, 2017. Tickets are R120 and are available from and by calling 0861 670 670.

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