Chapter 2 On Black and White: Staging South African Identities after Apartheid

In: Forays into Contemporary South African Theatre
Author: Greg Homann

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Abstract

This essay explores the allusions and illusions of identity construction that are evident in contemporary South African drama. Homann reflects on three political actions that he proposes are the fertile ground from which dramatic characters emerge in post-apartheid South African playwriting. To make his case he draws on what Njabulo Ndebele has called the “them-us” polarity, Derek Hook’s unpacking of the psychoanalytic term restorative nostalgia, and ideas of Rainbow Nation-ism that were solidified through the efforts of Nelson Mandela. Homann aligns these three ideas to contemporary South African drama as a means to test whether we might be able to speak of the formulation of the them-us play, the restorative nostalgia play, and the Rainbow Nation play.

Forays into Contemporary South African Theatre

Devising New Stage Idioms

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