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Thread: Playwright Athol Fugard Issued Stark Warning About the Direction His Country is Going

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    Playwright Athol Fugard Issued Stark Warning About the Direction His Country is Going

    Veteran South African playwright Athol Fugard has issued a stark warning about the direction his country is going in - and has urged younger playwrights to tackle the widespread injustices he sees as undermining the post-Apartheid settlement.

    Currently rehearsing his latest play The Train Driver, at Hampstead Theatre, Fugard, 78, has spoken out about his growing sense of disillusion. Having written, and co-authored, a number of seminal anti-Apartheid plays in his time - including The Island (1972) and Sizwe Bansi is Dead (1972) - he revealed this week that the need to address South Africa’s ongoing ills is so urgent that he has no plans to retire.

    “The truth is that the new South Africa needs committed playwrights who are prepared to bear witness to what is going on every bit as urgently as the old ones did,” he declares in an in-depth interview with the theatre podcast website www.theatrevoice.com. “The essential responsibility lies with young playwrights and I’m not sure I can see them rising to that challenge - that’s what disturbs me.”

    He delivers a furious attack on the government of President Jacob Zuma. “I have to live with an appalling sense of betrayal in terms of the present government in South Africa. When I think of the moment when Nelson Mandela came out of jail, and when I think of that day I stood in a queue a mile long under a blazing sun to cast my vote in our first free general election… when I think of that day and the euphoria that swept through the country that we were going to really get it right and turn our back on the appalling past and be a truly open democratic society with compassion and a sense of justice - that’s not the case.”

    “In a sense we have got to start again,” he continues. “It’s a very fluid - and a very volatile situation in South Africa. On my side there’s a sense of betrayal. I hate to name names but men who I thought would stand up and speak out against the degree of corruption and everything that’s going wrong in our country simply concern themselves with getting richer. Look at the degree of corruption in high places in South Africa. Desmond Tutu has gone on record time and time again and said to us fellow south Africans that we have lost our way. He is absolutely right.”

    The Train Driver is based on the true story of Pumla Lolwana, who in 2000, stepped in front of an oncoming train with her three young children on the Cape Flats. Fugard has described it as “perhaps the most important play I’ve written... It’s the emotional journey I’ve travelled in dealing with my inherited legacy of South African prejudice and what you do with that blinkered vision of reality”.
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/t...th-Africa.html
    Although the word "Commando" was wrongly used to describe all Boer soldiers, a commando was a unit formed from a particular district. None of the units was organized in regular companies, battalions or squadrons. The Boer commandos were individualists who were difficult to control, resented formal discipline or orders, and earned a British jibe that"every Boer was his own general".

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    Too late for him to change his tune, he got what he fought for. I honestly do not know what they expected would happen when the ANC came to power.

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