Drama for a New South Africa

Drama for a New South Africa

Seven Plays
Edited by David Graver
Distribution: World
Publication date: 10/1/1999
Format: paper 240 pages
6.125 x 9.25
ISBN: 978-0-253-21326-6
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" . . . a solid addition to international drama." —Library Journal

Going beyond the parameters of conventional literary drama, these seven new plays express life issues in post-apartheid South Africa—Islamic fundamentalism, women's rights, ecology, Afrikaans culture and the new multi-racial life of the inner city. While theater rooted in the anti-apartheid movement was rich and vibrant, it was also singleminded in focus, obscuring the diversity of South African culture now brought to life in these works.

Author Bio

DAVID GRAVER earned a Ph.D. in comparative literature from Cornell University in 1987. Since then he has taught drama at Loyola University of Chicago, Stanford University, Columbia University, and the University of Chicago. He is author of The Aesthetics of Disturbance and numerous articles on twentieth-century drama and performance. He has been studying, teaching, and writing on South African drama since 1988. In 1997, he began a law degree at the University of Chicago.


"Graver presents seven plays from the years when apartheid was falling apart. At that time, both the public and playwrights began noticing previously neglected social problems such as the oppression of black women, depicted in the plays in Kathy A. Perkins's anthology Black South African Women (CH, Sep'99). Graver casts his net wider and begins with Junction Avenue Theatre Company's Sophiatown (1988), a play treating one of apartheid's most odious evils, forced relocation. The plays that follow treat such subjects as abuse of women, poaching, and mindless bureaucracy. Particularly moving are Paul Slabolepszy's Mooi Street and Other Moves, about strangers in the big city who lose each other just when they begin to accept each other as fellow humans; Reza De Wert's Crossing, which reminded this reviewer of an Ingmar Bergman movie and is a haunting drama about ordinary people who are trying to bring some semblance of order to a chaotic world, though with mixed results; and Brett Bailey's Ipi Zombi, a powerful portrayal of how fear of witchcraft can overtake a community, overpowering both the victims and the aggressors. Recommended for libraries collecting in theater arts and studies, as well as in African literature and culture." —B. K. Beynen, Des Moines Area Community College , Choice , June 2000

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Table of Contents

Sophiatown (1986) by Junction Avenue Theater Company
Horn of Sorrow (1988) by Nicholas Ellenbogen
And the Girls in their Sunday Dresses (1988) by Zakes Mda
Mooi Street Moves (1992) by Paul Slabolepszy
Purdah (1993) by Ismail Mahomed
Crossing (1994) by Reza de Wet
Ipi Zombi? (1998) by Brett Bailey