A couple of weeks ago my friends and I went to watch a play titled SOPHIATOWN at the state theatre. Prior to watching the play, I didn’t have any expectations, but to just have fun. I had no idea that at the end of that play, it would unravel so much emotion in me.
Though it was an exceptional play, in fact top of the list in terms of plays I have watched. The cast, the music and the entire production were world class. But at the end of the play, I was so angry. I was angry that black South Africans have suffered so much in their native land at the hands of non-natives. I was angry that millions of our people lost their lives at the hands of an evil political system. I was even more angry that the history they taught us at school did not do justice to the intricacies of what really happened in the 1940s and 1950s.
To be honest, I don’t recall the history at school covering much about Sophiatown and other critical African history. In fact, we were always led to believe that Sophiatown was the epitome of the black enlightenment period due to the prime of Drum magazine and the Jazz culture.
My deeper knowledge of the history of Sophiatown was a few years ago when I was in University. It was only then, that I got to understand how the oppressive government of the time dismantled Sophiatown.
But I had to make peace with the anger I felt because when you realise that history can be forged to serve an agenda, you also feel empowered to influence public dialogues on how we can also own the ‘pen’ of history as this article seeks to achieve.
I assume also that maybe my emotions were sparked by the recent loss of Mama Winnine Madikizela -Mandela and the contradictory conversations that we have had post her passing. Also, the very critical and ever so important land conversation that we are having in South Africa now.
Reality is, those of us who are not in political or influential spaces can feel very overwhelmed and helpless about these conversations. We also want to contribute in making South Africa better and for me, one of the best ways to do that, is to influence in the space where you are.
Whether you actively or passively engage with what is happening in our society, one way or the other it will affect you. Let us not tire in wanting to redress past injustices, even if you don’t know what to do, don’t be too nonchalant about these things.
When I say Sophiatown Vuka, vuka meaning – “to awake”, all I am advocating for is that we will continue to remember the injustices of the past and dismantle “Economic Apartheid”. Watching the play rekindled a fire that reminded me that there are still important social ills to address in democratic South Africa.
If you wish to watch this amazing play, please visit the below website for more information:
After you have watched it, please share your thoughts at – firstname.lastname@example.org
Image courtesy of : https://www.artlink.co.za