Play focuses on racism and reconciliation

Durban- South Africa (PANA) -- Personal stories of Apartheid brutality, injustice and the complex issues of truth and reconciliation are being staged alongside debates and presentations at the ongoing World Conference against Racism in Durban.
Prominent among these is the acclaimed South African play, 'The story I am about to tell', which is being staged at the Kwasuka Theatre in Durban.
The play is performed by the Mehlo Players, a group of three actors (Ramolao Makhene, Mcendisi Kenneth Nkosi and Dan Robbertse) and three survivors of apartheid human rights abuses (Catherine Mlangeni, Duma Kumalo and Thandi Shezi) of the Khulumani Support Group.
Together with producer Bobby Rodwell, writer Lesego Rampolokeng and director Robert Coleman, the Mehlo Players began exchanging ideas and experiences around issues of truth and reconciliation, racism, brutality and injustice in 1996.
Almost five years later, the play has been performed to both local and international acclaim and remains one of the most harrowing, yet honest and humorous testimonies to emerge from the era of truth and reconciliation in South Africa.
This is groundbreaking theatre shows the context where the window dressing of a united rainbow nation often overshadows the real-life and long-term psychological damage that apartheid and colonialism have so successfully inflicted over generations.
In short, it is a truly South African performance that transcends universal experience.
Not surprisingly, 'The story I am about to tell' is one of the main items on the cultural programme at the World Conference against Racism.
In the spirit of the conference proceedings, debate and discussion are woven into the play with the cast welcoming questions, comments, and observations from the audience at the end of each performance.
As has been proven in the long and often acrimonious negotiations in the run-up to the World Conference against Racism, there is no grand catharsis that can be offered when you are sifting through remnants of the brutality suffered by the people.
The play raises important questions about the notions of justice and the wholesale marketing of truth and reconciliation in South Africa, by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, political parties and local and foreign media.
Many of these questions remain unanswered or ignored both in South Africa and in the international community, making them even more pertinent at an event of this nature.

04 september 2001 16:18:00

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