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Theatre for Reconciliation

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1 Theatre for Reconciliation
Nothing But the Truth Theatre for Reconciliation

1994 elections put the ANC in power and ended apartheid, therefore there was no longer a need for Protest Theatre TforR aimed at healing wounds, endorsing forgiveness and uniting enemies to coincide peacefully together-this was desperately needed in the transition SA was in TforR expressed the hopes for a new society through the lessons taught in the plays. These stories were based on how to forgive the atrocities and crimes committed to the oppressed, and those that felt betrayed


TRC arose from a society that needed to be cleansed of its cruel past social injustices and violence. The government, security forces and civil services had violated human rights and needed to be held accountable Desmond Tutu led the TRC based on the biblical principle “the truth shall set you free” Established in 1996, its main aims were to: 1-expose crimes committed during Apartheid, 2-allow confession and forgiveness, 3- give the victim a forum to tell their story, 4- its main goal was to bring reconciliation in a wounded society through amnesty rather than retribution although successful, the TRC was still controversial: 1- much debate around granting amnesty, 2- the TRC wanted to avoid being like the Nuremberg Nazi trials or like their previous oppressors, 3- the issue of justice (can reconciliation occur only after justice has been served? Or can forgiveness occur simply through repentance and confession of the criminal?)..... John Kani was one of the South Africans who struggled with this issue, hence his exploration of the topic within the play


NNBT takes place in a post-apartheid SA NB!!!! It does NOT deal with conflict between whites and blacks, but the tension between blacks that stayed and fought through the struggle, and those who left/exiled returning only after Apartheid ended, if at all It’s NB! to remember SA TRC was UNLIKE THE Nuremberg trials

7 PLAY CONVENSIONS The genre of NBTT is realistic, New Realism.... Why?

8 Linear structure based on sequential events
Plot and Structure Well-made play Linear structure based on sequential events Characters well-rounded, 3D, have a past and future, develop, change and learn actions, thoughts and feelings are logically motivated

9 Language Colloquial = everyday speech mixing English and isiXhosa
conversations and arguments drive the plot forward Language is used for the audience to understand relationships between characters and express certain themes. Eg: Modern vs Traditionalism

10 Set and Stage Lighting and Sound Effects
box set for a proscenium arch stage exact replica of a township house furniture detailed and typical Lighting and Sound Effects Lighting is realistic to the set. Eg: lWhat can lights be used to indicate?


12 Costumes reflect social and economic status of characters, professions and personalities Sipho: old librarian-modest, indicative of income Thando: teacher and TRC interpreter- conservative Mandisa: fashion designer from London- eccentric, fashionable Acting Style Realistic Stanislavski 10 method acting techniques to make a fully believable, well-rounded character

Sipho Assistant chief librarian at PE public library 63 years old, 2 years from retirement Hopes to be appointed chief librarian Has a daughter, Thando Son Luvuyo died at a protest rally Mandisa is his niece Themba is his brother His wife ran away


15 To understand Sipho we must understand his relationship with his brother
Sipho felt second best to Themba, like his father never loved him Themba and Sipho’s sibling relationship is repeated in later life Sipho is governed by fear It is only when the truth is revealed that he is able to forgive Themba and in turn break the relationship of fear, and let Thando go Sipho is a traditionalist Sipho is very loyal Sipho is responsible

16 Themba We only know of Themba through the perceptions of him from others, mainly Sipho, Mandisa and the general public. Sipho’s View of Themba Mandisa and the Publics View of Themba Themba was irresponsible “Always not there to take responsibility” He was seen as “a man of the struggle” Themba was a trouble maker “He caused a lot of trouble for everyone...and for himself” He was popular amongst the ladies “Oh, that was a man!” Themba was well liked by all “Everybody was close to Themba” Everyone remembers him for having the “gift of the gap” Themba was spiteful “He took the wire bus because it was mine” He was an adventurer and had a positive outlook on life He believed he should “travel...expand one’s horizons...see that the world is a beautiful place” Themba was the favourite “My father openly favoured Themba” He was loyal to SA “He always reminded us of the needs of ‘home’, South Africa” Themba was sophisticated and streetwise. Themba said Sipho’s future wife was not suited to him “Themba knows things” Themba was a true hero of the struggle “Everybody says if he had have stayed the police would have killed him”


18 More of Sipho’s views on Themba...
Themba was hypocritical Themba is a great speaker Themba was a womaniser Themba was opportunistic Themba was selfish He was a popular yet serious political activist

19 Thando and Mandisa Thando and Mandisa are best understood in comparison to each other
CLOTHING No info given. Assumption= conservative due to occupation Well dressed, typical London style. Image conscious. Fashionable OCCUPATION Teacher and interpreter at TRC. She wants to make a meaningful contribution to society Fashion designer. Appearances and sophistication are NB to her. It shows ambition- she wants to work at a big design house RELATIONSHIP WITH OLDER GENERATION Dutiful daughter: 1) 2) 3) 4) Cultural differences due to London upbringing: OTHER CHARACTER TRAITS She is loving and caring: Respects the ideas of the TRC and ubuntu Compassionate on a personal level (with her father) and on a larger scale (apartheid atrocities) Independent and self-centered Insentive to SA cultural norms She is cynical of the TRC


African heritage is important to both They enjoy being called ‘African Princess’ by their fathers Mandisa says she’s happy to be ‘home’ in SA and speaks of the tales she’s heard Thando says “show some respect for their traditions” They are both assertive and independent thinkers Seen when she calms her father on the topic of ashes saying that some Africans practice cremation these days

22 THEMES ( 1 )Modern Westernisation vs Traditional Culturism
This is seen in the adherence to cultural tradition (represented by Sipho) and a disintegration of cultural values moving into Westernisation (represented by Mandisa). References to cultural traditions include: 1) 2) 3) 4) Ways the culture is threatened: 1) 2) 3) 4) 5) 6) 7) 8)

23 ( 2 ) Freedom: Losses Sipho has Suffered
Like other South Africans, Sipho feels the ANC government ‘owes’ him for all of the struggling and fights the public and comrades fought for, and for what he feels he has been deprived of. Just as Sipho learns to forgive his brother, he learns to forgive his ANC government too. Things Sipho feels THEMBA took from him: 1) 2) 3) 4) 5) Things Sipho feels APARTHEID took from him: 3)  - Siphos bondage and fear is most apparent in his reluctance to allow Thando to go to Johannesburg. *He says his life is a curse : he cannot get out of his ‘victim’ mentality -> “the taking never stops.” -Sipho is freed from this bondage when he reveals the truth, expressing his fears and needs. Thando says nothing will change her being his daughter and Mandisa tells him Themba loved him, something he yearned to hear. . Allowing Thando to go to Jozi, “speaking” to his brother, and making plans to open his own library frees him from his victim mentality. 

24 3. Reconciliation, Truth, Forgiveness and Justice --> TRC within the house and the outside world.  
-Different Characters presents different views on justice, reconciliation and forgiveness. Mandisa -views = most simplistic: she is an outsider. -She doesn’t support murder being forgiven without justice -She believes the government has sold out for international approval and hasn’t considered the peoples need for revenge. - She believes the amnesty process is too lenient and calls it “giving in to easily.” Thando -Insider, works at hearings -She is not blind to its flows, but is most supportive of it *”One gets confused sometimes. Especially when so many lies are told” -Believes rebuilding the country is a priority over revenge. -Embraces forgiveness yet stipulates that many have to be punished : the process is not “too easy”. Sipho -Sipho introduces a personal perspective by speaking about the death of his son. This supports Mandisa’s argument. -He doesn’t support the TRC : “That’s why I don’t go anymore. It’s pointless.” -He doesn’t want amnesty for his son’s murderer he wants a criminal case opened. -Sipho states that only after all of that, and the murderer have disclosed all, then will justice be served. -He doesn’t care about being happy or not, just that justice is served. -Sipho thinks forgiveness is questionable. When questioned if he forgives the policeman who killed his son he does not answer

25 Mandisa and Thando represent different perspectives of the SA public on the TRC: revenge and forgiveness Sipho reveals a personal experience and that attitude of the victims of Apartheid. His perspective includes both the need for revenge and forgiveness: he answers Mandisa’a need for revenge by insisting criminals give full disclosure and are held accountable before amnesty is granted. He is also willing to grant amnesty and work towards this reconciliation (Thando’s believes) even though he himself cannot yet forgive.

26 TRC within the house and the outside world:
Like in the TRC, Sipho cannot forgive until the whole truth is revealed. This allows him to forgive his brother and free himself from his victim mentality. Like many South Africans in dealing with the past, each character must deal with important issues to move forward: Sipho’s opportunity to study and dream of being a lawyer is taken from him by the Apartheid. Many South Africans were also limited in educational and occupational ambitions. Another challenge faced by many South Africans: once the Apartheid had ended they were too old to study or work. Sipho was 2 years from retirement so they wouldn’t promote him to chief librarian. At the climax when he forgives the ANC government for not giving him what he’s owed, he realises he can free himself and open his own library.

27 4. Jobs reflecting The Roles of Characters
Thando Teacher and interpreter at the TRC. Like in her job where she is required to get information out of people, she, on occasions probes to get the truth out of Sipho Sipho - Librarian, keeper of books Like how Sipho is the keeper of information, stored on shelves, he to keeps information stored away. He keeps his secrets safe like he cherishes his books. Mandisa - Fashion Designer Like how her job is eccentric and represents new and bold approaches to life, she represents the deconstruction of traditional norms. She shows a need for independence and embraces the unknown.

28 5.Sibling Rivalry The ongoing sibling rivalry between Sipho and Themba has continued from childhood up into his adult life. We see this tension in the things Sipho has felt Themba has taken from him: 1) 2) 3) 4) 5) 6) 7) 8)

29 6. Who is a hero? Themba is constantly praised by the public, as well as Mandisa and Thando to be a hero of the struggle. But Sipho reveals that Thando was never a real hero, in that the ‘struggle’ was convenient for him. “He got what he wanted from the struggle – money, woman and fame.” Themba would boycott for education, even though he took 5 years to study his degree, dropped out and never contributed to the payments. He would boycott consumer rights and food prices, yet it was Sipho who supported him. “A political activist who never threw a stone at the police, who never blew up any police stations called for consumer boycotts when he knew who bought the food he ate.” He even turned his father’s own funeral into a rally, and when the police came he ran away. It was Sipho who braved through the raids and tear gas, and remained there to bury his father’s body.

30 7. Exile “Exile” : Someone leaves their county either by choosing to(voluntary) or by force of the government(involuntary). There are tensions between those who choose exile and those who remain in SA throughout the struggle. *Themba accuses Sipho of being a coward. Yet siphon remained in the country throughout the difficult ages. Themba on the other hand left the moment things got dangerous. “Everybody says if he had stayed the police would have killed him.” This point is further strengthened by the fact that after 1994, and the danger was over, Themba did not return to SA back to his “Real” home. He took the easy way out of not having to take responsibility for his actions : the affair he had with Sipho’s wife and his possible daughter.

31 8.Whats in a name? First reference to naming is with Mandisa. They call her African princess. She is very proud of this and her heritage. Yet she herself cannot pronounce the words or understand isi Xhosa. (Her actions contradict her words.) The second contradiction of Mandisa’s heritage is her understanding of the term ‘sister’. Thando calls her sister, because in their culture this qualifies the concept of Ubuntu : we do not exist in isolation, but as part of a community. Her uncle’s children will be her brothers and sisters. Mandisa however is unfamiliar with this concept. The title of the play holds great significance to the lesson to be learned when understanding the play. *”nothing but the Truth” a script in the justice system where people express their accounts of a situation in court, swears before GOD and the court room with their hand on the bible. They say “I swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.” The title immediately helps and audience associate the play to a sense of justice. Ie : TRC (later revealed) as well as secrets to be revealed and confessions to be made. Therefore by reading the title we are able to predict the actions of the play.

32 9. Universal Issues The issues dealt with in the play are universal human issues that every person has to deal with in their lives Sipho represents an “Everyman” who could be living anywhere. “I want everything back”, he claims. Universal issues of the play - Anger -Forgiveness -Jealousy -Traditional vs Westernism

33 The End

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