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New Territories

Theatre, Drama, and Performance in Post-apartheid South Africa


Edited By Greg Homann and Marc Maufort

South African theatre, drama, and performance is a vibrant and rapidly developing area of contemporary theatre studies. In this critical anthology of essays and interviews, some of the world’s most respected scholars and practitioners writing and working in the area of South African theatre today share their detailed examinations and insights on the complex and contradictory context of post-apartheid society. Loosely grouped into the categories of Theatre, Drama, and Performance, the essays collected here offer a sampling of work being staged, produced, and written in the country today. The contributors document, contrast, and analyse significant case studies, representing examples from site-specific performance to new South African plays, from traditional indigenous performance practice to the reimagining of Western classics. The anthology takes the year of South Africa’s first democratic election, 1994, as its departure point and includes a broad range of topics that capture the current paradigm.
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Eastern Cape Voices in Post-apartheid Theatre


Veronica BAXTER

University of Cape Town

Bodies are washed ashore, along with the cargo – buoyant barrels, tea chests and dresses – sometimes a bleating survivor of the livestock. The beaches are lined with wooden bones of the most recent ship to go down on the fatal coast of the Eastern Cape. Staggering survivors, usually travellers from the east or from Great Britain, make their way along the beach looking for something familiar, looking out fearfully for the “savages” that they have heard live along these shores.

There were reputedly 111 shipwrecks on the Eastern Cape’s “wild coast.” One Xhosa1 clan, the abeLungu (roughly translated as “the whites,” but also meaning the foam/scum off the waves), trace their lineage to intermarriage with shipwreck survivors.

It was not only through shipwrecks that contact between Xhosa and settler communities came about. Inland, the Nguni (of which the Xhosa clans are part) people’s archaeological presence can be traced to the 8th century. Dutch and then British colonials challenged the Xhosa kingdoms for land near the Great Fish River from the beginning of the 1700s. The instances of cattle raiding and theft escalated between Xhosa and settler or trekboer2 on this frontier, peaking from 1779 with the First War of Dispossession (or the First Frontier War).3 There were nine wars in one ← 57 | 58 → hundred years, and the epicentre of the battles was over the Great Fish and Keiskamma rivers as boundaries.


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