Saturday, April 13, 2013

Play Review: Cadre...


Omphile Molusi in character!  Image provided by The Market Theatre 

Ever sat with a struggle veteran and had a conversation about pre-democracy South Africa and the things he/she went through during the fight for equality? 

I have, well she is my mother and through her I've met and sat in on many conversations about the apartheid years. Thanks to my internship year at City Press I was also privileged to interview people who were there in the heat of the Sharpeville Massacre, 21 March 1960.

As much as my mother and many like her are open to sharing about the struggle, there is so much that I feel they went through that they can never put into words…whether it’s by choice or that there are a lack of words to describe what they went through, one will never know.

Cadre, a play written by Omphile Molusi which is currently on at the Market Theatre speaks about stories left unsaid by struggle heroes. 
Lillian Tshabalala, Omphile and Sello Motloung (Pics provided by The Market Theatre)
To summarise; Cadre is about a young man who is exposed to the injustice of the apartheid system when he loses his brother and is separated from his first love because of the system. He lives his life drunk from revenge and ultimately like every story, there is a twist and as much as he gets his revenge and freedom is won, he is haunted by his history.

The writer says that it was inspired by a true story, events in an APLA soldier during the apartheid era; his uncle. 

There are only three actors are in it; Omphile Molusi, Sello Motloung and Lillian Tshabalala and they do a remarkable job in capturing the different themes that make this a whole story.

The first theme that caught my attention was the child and parent relationship. A parent’s role is to protect the child and when that cannot be done, this can be very frustrating. As we see in the protagonist’s father who uses threats and beatings in an attempt to keep his sons in check. 

But they don't work as the father loses both his sons, one to death and the other (the protagonist) opts to run away.  We never know if the protagonist ever reunites with his family but we know that the father hides behind religion and the mother was left distraught.

Which takes me to the next theme; “The Struggle”; I grew up hearing my mom and her friends always starting any apartheid story with “during the Struggle”. I feel Cadre captures the emotions of “The Struggle” well.

It was not just a struggle against white supremacy, it was a struggle of children disobeying their parents, parents disowning their kids, burying their kids and hiding their kids. 

It was a struggle where trust was everything but who to trust was very blurry. It was a struggle for kids to have to shed their childlike ways and fast track maturity. It was a struggle of wanting to still experience things like love and happiness but not have the time or energy to do it completely. 

Death, prison, exile were normal. And with all this none were prepared for ‘liberation’!

The final theme for me was that now they live among us, with stories told and many untold. They live with the memories and some of the secrets kept haunt them. 

Fact, “the struggle” is over…but maybe for many cadres an internal struggle continues…
I should ask my mother…


Check out Cadre at the Market Theatre now until 21 April 2013 and share your thoughts on it! 

Omphile and Sello (Pics provided by The Market Theatre)

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