1887

n South African Journal of Cultural History - Die "Savage South Africa" -skouspel van Frank Fillis (1899-1900)

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Abstract

Frank Fillis was Suid-Afrika se grootste en bekendste sirkusbaas van die laat 19de en vroeg 20ste eeu. Hy was besonder talentvol in die ruiterkuns, afrigting van diere en die choreografie van epiese skouspele - waarvan "Savage South Africa" hier ter sprake is. Hierdie vertonings was in 1899 deel van die Greater Britain Exposition in Earl's Court (Londen) en is in 1900 in Olympia voortgesit voordat Fillis daarmee op 'n toer deur die provinsies gegaan het. Dit was vermaaklikheidskunstenaars soos Frank Fillis waf in die 19de en 20ste eeu gehelp het om Europese en Amerikaanse persepsies van Afrikane te vorm. In 'n tydperk toe die Westerse beskawing gefassineer was deur die "donker kontinent", het hierdie etnologiese skouspeleluitstallings baie keer ten doel gehad om die gehoor op te voed of in te lig. Terselfdertyd was dit openlike ekonomiese en fisieke uitbuiting. Die Afrikane is gebruik om stereotipes van barbaarsheid, swart etnisiteit en wreedheid aan die Europese (en Amerikaanse) gehore voor te hou. "Savage South Africa" het tonele uit die Matabele-oorloe van 1893 en 1896 uitgebeeld en moes Rhodesie (Zimbabwe) as 'n nuweling-kolonie aan die Britse publiek bekendslel. As deel van die skouspel is 'n kraal gerekonstrueer wat die verskillende swart stamme in hul natuurlike alledaagse lewe moes uitbeeld. Duisende mense het na hierdie uitstalling gestroom en die skouspel was 'n groot sukses. In plaas daarvan dat hierdie vertonings opvoedkundig van aard was, het dit egter 'n rasse-byenes oopgekrap. Dit was veral die aandag wat die Britse vroue aan die swart krygers geskenk het, wat momentum aan weerstandsaksies gegee het. Een van die sterre van die vertoning, "prins" Lobengula, se verlowing aan Kitty Jewell het daarop uitgeloop dat vroulike besoekers die kraal verbied is. Benewens die rassekwessie het die uitbreek van die Anglo-Boereoorlog ook daartoe bygedra dat die vertonings gestaak is.


Frank Fillis was South Africa's greatest and best known circus proprietor of the late 19th and early 20th century. He was a highly talented horseman, animal trainer and choreographer of epic spectacles - one of which, "Savage South Africa", is the topic of this article. This spectacle was part of the Greater Britain Exposition at Earl's Court (London) in 1899 and was continued at Olympia in 1900 before Fillis took the spectacle on a tour of the provinces. Showmen such as Frank Fillis helped to form European and American perceptions of Africans in the 19th and 20th centuries. [n a period when Western civilization was fascinated by the "dark continent", these ethnological spectacles exhibitions were often meant to educate or inform the spectators. Simultaneously they represented flagrant economic and physical exploitation. The Africans were used to present stereotypes of barbarity, black ethnicity and cruelty to the European (and American) audiences. "Savage South Africa" depicted scenes from the Matabele wars of 1893 and 1896 and was tasked with introducing Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) as a new colony to the British public. As part of the spectacle a kraal was reconstructed that presumed to depict the various black tribes in their natural, daily life. Thousands of people streamed 10 this exhibition and the spectacle was a huge success. However, in stead of being educational in nature, these exhibitions laid bare a veritable cauldron of racial emotions. It was particularly the attention paid by the British women to the black warriors that gave rise to protest actions. The engagement of one of the stars of the spectacle, "prince" Lobengula, to Kitty Jewell lead to female visitors being refused entrance to the kraal. Besides the racial matter, the outbreak of the Anglo-Boer War also led to the closure of the spectacle.

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/content/culture/15/1/EJC30556
2001-01-01
2016-12-06
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