CHAPTER ONEINTRODUCTION1.1 Background of the StudyThe condition of violent crime is a prevalent threat in contemporary post apartheid South African society. It is a popular topic of public debate and violent crime regularly features in all forms of news media within and outside South Africa. Apartheid was a political system in South Africa in which people were divided into racial groups and kept apart by law. Klein, Naomi (2007). A racial segregation specifically: It was a policy of segregation and political and economic discrimination against non-European groups in the Republic of South Africa. Apartheid, (Afrikaans: “apartness”) policy that governed relations between South Africa’s white minority and nonwhite majority and sanctioned racial segregation and political and economic discrimination against nonwhites. The implementation of apartheid, often called “separate development” since the 1960s, was made possible through the Population Registration Act of 1950, which classified all South Africans as either Bantu (all black Africans), Coloured (those of mixed race), or white. Daniel F. Malan, Hendrik Verwoerd, Johannes Gerhardus Strijdom, Lucky Philip Dube (1989). A fourth category-Asian (Indian and Pakistani) was later added.The apartheid regime in South Africa led to the violation of the fundamental human right of the blacks in South Africa. However even though the government had the power to suppress virtually all criticism of its policies, there was always some opposition to apartheid within South Africa which led to its abolition but many years after the ill effect still lies within the South African society and had in recent times manifested itself in the post apartheid South Africa. While the end of apartheid allowed equal rights for all South Africans regardless of race, modern-day South Africa struggles to correct the social inequalities created by decades of apartheid. Despite a rising GDP, indices for poverty, unemployment, income inequality, life expectancy, land ownership, have declined due to the increase in population; with the end of the apartheid system in South Africa leaving the country socio-economically stratified by race. Durrheim, K (2011). Subsequent government policies have sought to correct inequity in post apartheid South Africa with little or no significant impact. The study provides an explicit understanding of the disappointment faced by the South Africans in failing to achieve the society of their dream since the freedom from the apathy regime. They are confronted by violent crimes and victimization as exemplified in the play used for the study. Consequently the study is an appraisal of post apartheid South Africa and the narrative of disillusionment in Lara foot newtons reach and mike van graans some mother son.
1.2 Statement of the ProblemThe plays, adopted for the study, Reach! (2007) by writer-director Lara Foot Newton; and Some Mothers’Sons (2005) by playwright, arts advocate, and cultural critic Mike van Graan; are Plays from Post-apartheid South Africa center around a society confronted by violent crime, fear and victimization. The South Africans are disillusioned by the fact that after years of struggle for freedom from apathy and the dream for a better society. They are faced with conflict violent crimes and victimization. Reach is a touching story about the ripple effects of violent crime and the difficult process of overcoming victimization or the fear of victimization. Reach” (Lara Foot Newton) is a story of trying to connect. Two South Africans from different generations reach out across conflicting experiences and racial lines in an attempt to reconcile their shared past. Reach! examine tensions between the white old guard and the new generation of blacks negotiating their decidedly different memories, traumas, and histories. Working through racial and cultural differences that divide them, the plays articulate the struggles South Africans face in attempting to co- exist respectfully. Reach! is ultimately a hopeful story about a woman without a future (sixty-three-year old Marion Banning) and a man without a past (nineteen-year-old Solomon Xaba) who learn to care for each other in the new democracy. Foot Newton, L. (2009).“Some Mother’s Sons” (Mike van Graan) questions the success and failure of the South African criminal and justice system. Vusi and Braam, two lawyers and friends, negotiate their experiences of apartheid violence and post-apartheid criminality. In Some Mothers’Sons, two lawyer friends are each detained under the law (union activist Vusi for protesting apartheid and Afrikaner Braam for murder in the new democracy), and each has to defend his friend’s case. Megan Lewis (April 2012).The play highlights Vusi’s role in the struggle against apartheid and how he came to be imprisoned. His anger and fear are explored in greater detail and the development of his friendship with Braam in that prison interview room is also elaborated on. Braam elaborates more on how his fear of crime eroded his human rights beliefs, leading him to buy a gun and kill his wife’s murderers, and how these actions ceased to appear cruel or gratuitous to him. Van Graan, M. 2009. The play is an exploration of the failed criminal justice system, then and now, van Graan’s play explores South Africans’ disillusionment with the rule of law and suggests that violence is as much a part of the new democracy as it was under the apartheid regime.The post apartheid south Africa is currently faced with diverse crimes, while the end of apartheid allowed equal rights for all South Africans regardless of race, modern-day South Africa struggles to correct the social inequalities created by decades of apartheid. Despite a rising GDP, indices for poverty, unemployment, income inequality, life expectancy, land ownership, have declined due to the increase in population; with the end of the apartheid system in South Africa leaving the country socio-economically stratified by race. Subsequent government policies have sought to correct inequity with little or no significant impact. The problem confronting the study is an appraisal of post apartheid South Africa and narrative of disillusionment in Lara foot newtons reach and mike van graans some mother son.