Years ago, Veronica Jonkers departed for the big city in the brave New South Africa, set on making her dreams of fame and fortune come true. In COMING HOME, Veronica returns to Nieu Bethesda several years later to die of AIDS, but she is determined to first secure a future for her child, bright word-loving little Mannetjie. After a rocky beginning, Veronica's childhood playmate and school friend Alfred agrees to marry Veronica and take care of Mannetjie, but Mannetjie resents Alfred's intrusion into the close relationship he has with his mother. The ghost of old Buks Jonkers, Veronica's beloved grandfather, appears to Veronica and to Mannetjie, teaching them how to appreciate the miracle of life, how it is part of God's Plan and that one has to take the good with the bad and learn to survive. With his elders' guidance, Mannetjie will, in turn, learn that the harsh realities of life can be softened by hope and redemption.
"COMING HOME quietly condemns the shameful policies of the South African government, which failed to confront the reality of AIDS or to offer the necessary drugs to its impoverished citizens as they became available, resulting in untold thousands of unnecessary deaths. But as always with Mr. Fugard, censure of policy comes only through careful observation of its human costs. Mr. Fugard doesn't need to raise his voice, or even have Veronica raise hers, to make his points." —NY Times. "Ghosts fill Athol Fugard's COMING HOME, a haunting yet clear-eyed play of lost dreams…There's the ghost of the "new" South Africa set in stark contrast to its harsh, heartbreaking reality today. And then there's the spirit of a playwright whose works served as a moral beacon prior to Apartheid's fall in the 1990s. [Fugard] raises that authoritative voice through the power of plain-speaking storytelling. The political and social themes may be buried beneath the modest tale of return and redemption, but make no doubt about it, they are burning at the molten core of his latest play…creates a lasting impression and an influence that continue to be felt well beyond the stage." —Variety. "The poignant but humor-laced drama COMING HOME is a tale of hope and the loving bonds of family and friendship…Fugard's image-rich and lyrical text, as well as the actions and reactions of his well-defined characters, are fully realized." —Hartford Courant. "Fugard has always written plays about ideas…presented through flesh-and-blood people who spar with each other, prodding, poking, and preserving their humanity against nearly impossible odds." —New Haven Independent. "…[this] poignant drama is a testament to the resilience and bravery of richly drawn characters hovering between life and death." —Norwalk Hour. "It's because of scenes like these that one returns to the theater time after time. [Fugard] has a gifted eye for locating (and putting into words!) such moments of touching vulnerability and humanity that, in this case, move one to reevaluate people who appear to fit a certain preconceived mold." —Yale Daily News.