He studied Theater Directing at University of the Witwatersrand and recently completed a tour of his play “Sizwe Banzi is Alive”.
Eliot’s venture is to work with Drama for Life, an organization promoting social transformation, to create a play in response to the Marikana tragedy where 45 striking miners were shot during a confrontation with the police. His goal is to use the play to raise awareness and start a large fundraising campaign for the benefit of the children of the deceased.
In this play, my attempt was not so much to directly speak to the politics of the labour unrest, but to understand the personal politics of the face behind the man who put his life on the line to fight for what he believed in. What personally motivated this for him? I wanted to reveal the effects of the politic narrative through his life. Such bravery is something that has not been seen in South Africa since the days of apartheid. Now we are fighting a different apartheid, and I call it an economic apartheid. Beyond our colour-line politics, not much has changed in our country for ordinary black South Africans. And the labour unrest hightlighted this plight of the poor, which is why the government gunned them down. Their strike was perhaps the first act of solidarity among the working class since the strike of the 1973 where workers united in spirit and numbers to shake the moral core of our racist regime. This spirit is dead, or was, until the Marikana miners decided to end their silence and speak out against their common plight at the hands of our repressive economic apartheid.
South Africa is perhaps yet to realize a truly meaningful political and economic transition. The miners demonstrated that just like the apartheid could not suppress the freedom of blacks forever, so is the plight of the average working class. We are heading for a revolution! It is brewing under the belly of this country and we are starting to see fumes and steams of it blow up. The façade of freedom and economic development of South Africans the government has promised is wearing off – it will be ironic that a real full revolution in this country will be against a black government. The very people who fought apartheid are now sitting at the helm of economic apartheid just so that they can enrich themselves. But no man escapes his judgment, our days are numbered.
Watch this space!
The people will rise again.
Their voice’s echo will break the shackles of economic apartheid.