n Tydskrif vir Geesteswetenskappe - (2011) deur Reza de Wet : 'n slawedrama? : navorsings- en oorsigartikels

Volume 54, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 0041-4751


Die doel met hierdie artikel is om, met die didaskalia as vertrekpunt, die teenwoordigheid en werking van 'n slawenarratief in Reza de Wet se dramateks (2011) te ondersoek. Alhoewel die dramaturg nêrens spesifiek aandui dat (2011) 'n slawedrama is nie, bevestig die werking van die didaskalia en oorgange in die handelingsverloop dat dit die geval is. Sy koppel die oorgange direk of indirek aan spesifieke jaartalle, naamlik 1795 (die eerste Britse besetting van die Kaap), 1834 (die amptelike vrysetting van slawe in Suid-Afrika) en 1838 (die finale vrylating van slawe). De Wet gee aan dié oorgange 'n menslike gesig deur in haar drama drie vroulike slawe se belewing van die eerste Britse besetting van die Kaap tussen 7 Augustus en 16 September 1795 voor te stel. Literêr-histories beskou het sy daarmee 'n mylpaal in die Afrikaanse dramaliteratuur bereik, naamlik die eerste volledige slawedrama in Afrikaans.

Although (, 2011) depicts a single day in 1795 in the lives of three female slaves, the playwright does not use the words "slave drama" or "slave play" to describe her text. These words do not appear in the published play at all. In spite of the absence of the words "slave drama" or "slave play", I consider the three slaves in the play as representing all slaves. My discussion consequently concerns the marginal position of all slaves and their longing for freedom. In the play, the slaves' anonymous owner and master holds Ou Vrou (Old Woman), Vrou (Woman) and Meisie (Maiden) captive in a dungeon beneath the Castle in Cape Town. Outside, a British naval force approaches the Dutch settlement from the Muizenberg side of the peninsula. The sound of approaching canon can be heard. Oblivious of their impending liberation, the three slaves discuss their experiences of being treated as the property, or sexual objects, of their master. True to her character, each slave expresses in her own way her longing for freedom. For now, all they can do is to escape to an imaginary garden in their dreams or dream of their childhood outside the Castle.
Notwithstanding the absence of clear indications that is a slave drama, the didascalies provide hints that this may be the case. Such indications include descriptions of the dramatis personae, references to the time of and the place in which the action occurs, and dedicating the play to Peter Voges for keeping the memories of slaves alive and for showing respect for the role they played in establishing the colony.
In the analysis, I address the question whether it is possible to identify as a slave play from the perspective of the didascalies. As a first step, I identify the main features of slave dramas in general, and then I compare from the point of view of the didascalies to these features. If this play could indeed be identified as a slave drama, it is possibly the only play in Afrikaans that deals with classical slavery.

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