THE apartheid government conscripted all young white men to the armed forces; many were sent to the border. Somewhere on the Border traces their experiences.
THE abomination of a generation sent to fight a war that was not their own is the focus of Somewhere on the Border, which will be on stage at the Market Theatre from 10 January to 12 February.
ConflictConflict: The play looks at the plight of soldiers sent to the border in the 1980sBased on the play written by Anthony Akerman while he was in exile, the production, directed by Andre Odendaal, looks at the plight of soldiers sent to the border. “In the 1980s, Somewhere on the Border took a stand against young white conscripts being sent to the border,” says Akerman in a statement.
“Today, by retelling their story, the play has shown it can help those former conscripts to process what they went through and arrive at some form of healing or closure.”
After it was written, the play was intercepted in the post and banned by the apartheid censorship machine for its offensive language and negative portrayal of the South African Defence Force, which was labelled “prejudicial to the safety of the state” at the time.
It was first performed in Grahamstown 25 years ago, and Odendaal’s production returned to the National Arts Festival in 2011.
Led by a sterling cast, it breathes new life into the experiences of the conscripted soldiers. Glen Biderman-Pam portrays Dave Levitt; Charles Bouguenon plays Kotze; Dylan Horley is Doug Campbell; Luan Jacobs is Paul Marais; Andre Lotter plays Hennie Badenhorst; Kaz McFadden portrays Trevor Mowbray and Ndino Ndilula plays The Black Actor.
“These young actors give life to a story that makes the old South Africa seem both foreign and familiar,” says Christabel Zulu, from the play’s publicity company, BUZ Publicity.
“After almost two decades of silence, the border war has forced its way back into public discourse and this production is part of that dialogue.”
The play is a set work for first-year English at the University of Cape Town, and to commemorate the performances at the Market Theatre, Wits Press is publishing it in a single volume. This edition will include in a new preface by Akerman, as well as an afterword by Professor Gary Baines from the history department at Rhodes University.
Somewhere on the Border will be presented by the Market Theatre and Kosie House of Theatre; performances will take place at 8pm from Tuesdays to Saturdays and at 3pm on Sundays. There is a special on the performances on 10, 11, 12 and 13 January and these shows will cost only R50. For the rest of the performances, tickets will range from R66 to R160.
There is an age restriction of 16 because of language and subject matter.
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