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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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Re-imagining Space and Identity: A New Generation of Post-apartheid Afrikaans Playwrights


← 204 | 205 → Re-imagining Space and Identity

A New Generation of Post-apartheid Afrikaans Playwrights

Petrus du PREEZ

Stellenbosch University


South African theatre with its multiple audiences has, just like other literary forms, adapted to the changes in South African society. This shift entails a drastic re-investigation of identity, themes and content which are portrayed on the stage. Afrikaans theatre forms a small but very vibrant part of the South African theatre landscape. This corpus of plays, unfortunately, comes with a lot of political baggage. This is a remnant of the political background of the country. It also carries with it contemporary concerns around issues of identity, race and language.

Afrikaans theatre has a long and illustrious history. The political engagement of Afrikaans theatre comes from its early roots. Afrikaans theatre’s history dates back to 1832 with Boniface’s play De Temperantisten (Bosman 44; Binge 1) and later on in 1868 with plays such as Willem Nel, De Moord van Dingaan aan Pieter Retief (Piet Retief’s Murder by Dingaan) and Retief Gewroken (Revenge for Retief) (Bosman 460). These plays by Boniface and H.W. Teengs were performed in a mixture of Dutch and Afrikaans. They already indicate a major theme in Afrikaans theatre to follow, namely the identity of Afrikaners and especially the language struggle between the English and Afrikaners in the Cape Province as well as in the rest of the colony. As examples, the plays of J.F. Van Oordt...

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