What do Boesman and Lena mean to each other?
Boesman and Lena (1969) follows a pattern which is typical of Fugard's plays such as The Blood Knot (1963) and Hello and Goodbye (1966). It explores the controversial and ambiguous relationship between two characters who are inextricably bound together. Such relationship is challenged as a third character arrives. In this case, this third character is Outa whose presence briefly offers Lena a contact with someone else than her abusive husband Boesman. The couple are mixed-race Soth Africans who have been evicted from their home and is forced to wander along the Swartkops River near Port Elizabeth. The action of the play takes place when the apartheid, the system of laws segregating and discriminating black South Africans, was in full force. Through the characters of Boesman and Lena the play explores notions of freedom and identity in a context that is extremely discouraging for both. It also complicates the idea of oppression by showing how an oppressed like Boesman feels the need to oppress in turn. Surprisingly, Lena seems to get a sense of identity from her husband's abuse, although the encounter with Outa makes her see the possibility of claimimg her own freedom.
Boesman and Lena are bound not only by duty but also mutual affinity. That is probably why Lena didnot leave Boesman even if he beat and harrassed her. In an era when oppression was rampant throughout the land of South Africa which was reeling under the pressures of Apartheid, Boesman and Lena were the sole supporters of eachother. An oppressed Boesman beat up Lena and hurled abuses at her. But this never meant that he didn't love her. His love for Lena becomes evident when the third stranger Outa joins them for the night. Boesman is clearly jealous of him and thus he gets angry on Lena. Throughout the play, we see that Lena is submissive to her husband's atrocities. But at the end, she raises her voice against his abuses. She stands tall and turns out to be the strongest character of the play. But the fact remauns that she continues her journey forward with Boesman- the man whom she loves and who in turn loves her a lot. They are inseparable indeed.