“Making a cross-cultural contemporary political theatre for the young”
Eliot Moleba

This is an article published in the ASSITEJ Magazine 2017, which was distributed during the CRADLE OF CREATIVITY: The 19th ASSITEJ World Congress and International Theatre Festival for Children and Young People.

To read the article, visit: ASSITEJ Magazine 2017


“Marikana youth: (re)telling stories of ourselves and our place”


Prior to and immediately following 1994, South African youth literature has largely focused on atypical groups, especially young people’s participation in political protest and violence (Marks 2001; Ntsebeza 1993; Seekings 1993; Straker 1992; Van Kessel 2000). The challenge for new research is to grapple more broadly with the question of how young people construct ordinary lives and identities amid the changing and transforming socio-cultural, economic and political landscape. As such, this study aimed to focus on the ordinary, quotidian narratives of youth in an extraordinary place of Marikana, where the massacre of striking mineworkers took place in 2012. Face-to-face, individual interviews were conducted with 8 participants (aged between 19 and 31 years) living in Marikana, including people who were born in or had migrated to Marikana. Both structural and thematic analyses were used to analyse the transcribed texts. The structural analysis was used to examine how poverty plays a role in the form of stories told. The thematic analysis focused on the content of the narratives, drawing linkages across participants’ stories to understand how they make meaning of events and experiences in their lives. The themes identified were organised as follows: Marikana (nostalgia about the place of Marikana, and belonging to the place of Marikana), childhood in Marikana and elsewhere (growing up in Marikana, and growing up elsewhere), families and their structure (single-parent headed and transnational families, (grand)mothers as pillars of family, and (inter)generational absence/presence of fathers), education (lack of funds for schooling), and possibilities for the future (dreams and futures deferred, and fantasies of escape). The findings indicate that the trauma and violence of the Marikana Massacre was remarkably marginal in their narratives. Instead, participants stressed poverty as a systemic problem that is far more pervasive in how they (re)produce(d) their stories. This core finding reveals poverty as a perpetual structural violence, a repeated state of trauma that is inflicted on their lives and reflected in their stories. Further findings show that many biological fathers are absent in the lives of their children, mostly due to migration or death. Consequently, sons follow in their fathers’ footsteps, leaving their new families behind (some becoming transnational parents). This produces a prevalent intergenerational absence of fathers in Marikana. As a result, mothers and grandmothers are the main breadwinners and emotional pillars of the family.

To read the paper, visit: Wits University


Histories of migration, transformation, and xenophobia in shaping the new South Africa

All books are collective endeavours, this collection perhaps more than most. Although we, as editors, conceptualised the book and shepherded its production, few of the words within these covers are our own. In contemporary urban studies, cities are often described as co-productions: the result of interactions among officials and residents; developers, and global economic and even meteorological forces. While weather played a minimal role, this text is undeniably the result of many hands and voices. Without the narrators who told their stories and the writers who captured them, it would not exist. Only their dedication and diversity – linguistic, legal, national, class, professional, etc. – allowed us to compile these stories. Despite the books’ undeniable shortcomings and silences, we must not underestimate the importance of sharing these accounts. For those narrators who chose to use pseudonyms, we hope that you will find satisfaction in seeing your distinctive voice and experiences reflected here.

I was a contributing author/researcher in this new book edited by LOREN B LANDAU & TANYA PAMPALONE.

For my contribution look out for a title called: A Bed of His Own Blood: Nombuyiselo Ntlane.

Buy book here:



Theatre For Change

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