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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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SUN: Composition, Continuum, Choreopoem. A Theatre-making Case Study in Post-apartheid South Africa


← 128 | 129 → SUN: Composition, Continuum, Choreopoem

A Theatre-making Case Study in Post-apartheid South Africa

Mwenya B. KABWE

University of the Witwatersrand


Theatre making is an extended, iterative and collective encounter with uncertainty, instability and temporality. These elements in the context of making theatre and performance in South Africa create a lattice of ideas that lie at the practice of becoming. A becoming that I would like to argue leans heavily towards an acknowledgement and validation of transience as a defining characteristic of humanity and one that would serve to be foregrounded in thinking about the thorny terrain of African Diasporas. In the face of often violently guarded African nationalisms and in light of contemporary African cultural practice in the non-neutral arena of African globalization, this thinking here is done through performance. Being a social practice, performance is able to activate connections to place(s) in a way that contextualizes diaspora historically, geographically, culturally and politically (Gilbert and Lo). Ogbechie observes that, “the location of contemporary African art within a global discourse of art confronts a central problem of cultural practice in the era of globalization” and asks “[…] what is the value of Africa as a site of globalization, as a place with its own history of development of specific visual languages and strategies of visual representation?” This question will hang as an indicator to a larger debate in which this essay wishes to participate while it investigates and re-visits...

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