- Mark Brown
- 7 August 2013
This article is from 2013
An evocation of South Africa’s past struggle
Almost two decades on from the end of apartheid, and with the health of Nelson Mandela, the nonagenarian father of the nation, failing, South African theatre is playing an important role in remembering the evil that was perpetrated under white supremacist rule. Omphile Molusi's play – which focuses on the life of its protagonist, Pan Africanist Congress activist (or cadre) Gregory Modise – takes us into the heart of the struggle in the 1960s and 70s.
From the vicious repression of the Pass Laws to the murder of Gregory's older brother (a PAC activist) by a racist policeman, the drama provides powerful reminders of the nature of apartheid. The most affecting scene in the play comes when Gregory (working undercover for the PAC as a police officer) is forced to sacrifice the life of a comrade in order to save his own life and, more importantly, the mission.
The piece has its weaknesses (not least in the slightly cringe-inducing playing of child characters by adult actors), but it succeeds in evoking a history which we cannot afford to forget.
Traverse, 228 1404, until 25 Aug (not 12, 19), times vary, £18–20 (£13–£15).