Ilanga Review of WIP Theatre Plays
The review is positive and in a way asks why haven't collections like these been reaching the mass audience. The reviewer recommends this collection of plays and finds it allows one to get into the worlds put forward by the playwright. The reviewer was only disappointed by one play iKhayalethu, which forher did not take her into the world of characters but left her confused altogether.
You are really an exceptional journalist. Of all the reviewers I sent my book to, you are the only one who actually took time to read it and then write an evaluation of the book not a trivial biographical sketch of the author. I am more than grateful to you.
It seems you found the play iKhayalethu confusing. So I am taking the liberty of telling you how I conceived it. The home that the Kanes live in, symbolises the country. It has been taken from the African people and S'hlobo who comes to claim what is rightfully his home, offers to share it with his white brother. But the brother is incapable of recognising that he has expropriated the home from S'hlobo and sees him as an intruder. His wife sees S'hlobo as a stereotype, the big black buck. Neither is capable of giving S'hlobo respect and dignity and therefore they cannot see him as a brother. They are only capable of patronage. In the play S'hlobo evolves from a simple, rural African, to a freedom fighter but one who believes in ubuntu (brotherhood). The play ends without resolving the conflict. It is left where Kane, the white man, holding the gun is being forced to examine his position while the black man waits to see if he (Kane) will redeem himself. This play was written seven years before De Klerk freed Nelson Mandela and unbanned the ANC.
The play has a faint echo of the Cain and Abel story.
Your plays are incredible because I see the fusion of so many cultures. Did you know the jingle "if you're white you're right, if you're yellow, you're mellow, if you're brown stick around and if you're black git back", was the one we were taught as children in the 1950s in the US. That's why when I saw it I laughed. I wondered if it was one that children were also taught in South Africa?
On another note did you see Obama's congressional speech on TV? A congressman called him a liar during his speech. One neat thing that's happening in the US is the realization by white people who believe that we are in the post-racism period in America are having their eyes opened wide by the Republican Party and the good ole boys network. Deryle Sue a psychologist is doing a lot of work on what he calls microaggressions. You also captured this concept in many of your plays. Critical Race Theory also captures these concepts. It is the subtle forms of racism that are more lethal than the overt forms. Deconstructing white superiority as a system is a slow process. There are many whites that are starting to work on this. Tim wise has done a lot of advocacy in this area. Your work is clearly a precursor.
Dr Paula Richman, Professor, Oberlin College
I wanted to be sure that you knew I had received the book of plays safely. It has been great fun reading all the original reviews of the plays and the plays. I especially liked "Luci" which was funny but quite cutting, especially with the mayor trying to make Soweto look like Sandton. I feel very honored to be one of the few people in the US to have this book of plays which gives an insight into life in this period
under apartheid. Thanks for the short introductions to each play that help me place them in context.
Kogi Singh, former Vice-Rector Springfield College of Education, Retired Principal
I've just finished reading "Of No Account", which I found to be way ahead of its time in the way it portrayed a mix of races and cultural attitudes. Am just about to start on "We Three Kings". Your writing is absorbing!