This study documents Apartheid legislation and the resistance against it, then turns to a consideration of the most important protest dramas. The complex political background is utilized to identify and discuss three distinct lines of development, represented by the Afrikaans, English and Black theatre traditions. The Afrikaans-speaking white playwright was initially part of the Afrikaner’s encompassing struggle for self-determination and self-assertion, where language, religion and nationalism played a dominant role. After the realization of the Afrikaner Nationalist ideals the Afrikaans writer gradually developed from myth-builder to iconoclast: from “national hero” to “traitor”. The resulting Afrikaans political protest theatre was aimed mainly at fellow Afrikaners and thus usually took on the guise of a drama of conscience, critically examining the Afrikaner psyche. Such plays did not advocate the subversion of the political system, but rather the humanization thereof. The English speaking playwright was initially represented as the liberal outsider with a humanitarian concern for the injustices wrought by racial discrimination, but at the same time sharing a sense of complicity in the situation and deeply rooted in the country. This complicity evolved into full acceptance of responsibility by means of their involvement with black theatre groups, the establishment and management of non-racial theatres and companies. The Black protest theatre (in its recognizable, Western form) developed late. Exposing the misery of the black citizen’s daily existence under Apartheid, these works advocated the violent overthrow of the “regime” as the only permanent solution. The form incorporates aspects of traditional practices such as story-telling, song, dance. multi-role acting and ceremonial actions, but the content is determined by the urban, industrialized experience.
|Subject||Performing arts, recreational activities|
|Subject 2||Performing arts, recreational activities|
|Alternative Title||Apartheid and protest : the development of political protest theatre in South Africa until Soweto 1976|
|Degree Type||Doctoral degree|