Jali is a West African term for a storyteller – someone who can use words, music, or dance to make sense of the world for themselves and their audience. The young stand-up comic Oliver Twist, in his first theatrical piece, is proving himself to be very much a chronicler in that tradition.
Twist’s story is one that has become distressingly familiar. Born in Rwanda to Tutsi/Hutu parentage at the exact moment when the shooting down of Prime Minister Juvénal Habyarimana’s plane ignited the Rwandan genocide, Twist fled the country with his parents and siblings at the age of four. With his family, he spent years in a refugee camp in Malawi, trying to find somewhere in the world that would accept them. When at last the family arrived in Australia, he discovered that Ipswich is not the world’s most welcoming city.