Marigolds in August

Marigolds in August

Marigolds in August is a play by South Africa's Athol Fugard.


The play portrays the tension between three people (two black - one white) trying to eke out a living.

The play takes place near Port Elizabeth. Daan (a resident in a nearby township where malnutrition and unemployment are rife) is walking to work at an apartheid whites-only resort where he works as a gardener. He encounters another unemployed black man - Melton - who is desperately looking for work. Daan is worried that Melton's presence will draw attention to him which is a problem as his passbook is no longer valid.

The pair struggle and argue and the appearance of a white man - Paulus (a snake catcher) - acts as a catalyst.

Daan realises that the apartheid system is often responsible for black-on-black violence. The only way to fight this is solidarity and compassion towards each other.


In 1980, the play was adapted into a film directed by Ross Devenish, with Melton played by John Kani, Athol Fugard as Paulus, and Winston Ntshona as Daan.


  • Marigolds in August and The Guest: Two Screenplays, Athol Fugard, Theatre Communications Group Inc., 1992, ISBN 1-55-936059-3


In 1980, it won the Berlin Silver Bear Award at the Berlin International Film Festival.


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