Megan's Head

A place where Megan gets off her head.

Category: xenophobia (Page 2 of 3)

The Tent revisited

While I have always quietly held onto the fact that The Tent was a good play, I had to contend with the usual hard knocks of rejection when it came to staging it again, after the initial commitment and funding that Artscape and the New Writing Programme gave it in 2009.

It being chosen as one of the finalists in the Projecto 34 degrees South Theatre in Translation project was fantastic. Last night though, I received an email from The National Theatre Studio in London letting me know that The Tent had been chosen (from hundreds of submissions) as one of the finalists in their call for African plays. I have been invited to London for a week, to spend time with the other playwrights and to attend a dramaturgy (I am better at spelling that than saying it!) workshop. I am so excited, and deeply proud. Oh dear, this is starting to sound like an award speech. Honestly though, I have a lot of people to thank for believing in this play and getting it out there. Mostly, there is Alfred Rietmann. Alfred, thank you.


The Difference

There is a march against xenophobia on Sunday, at 10am, from the St George’s Cathedral along what used to be the fan walk during the World Cup. I think that if anyone is having doubts about how to put their 67 minutes of service into action this would be a good way.

The other day Ridi Direko was on the radio talking about xenophobia and a psychologist called in to explain how the term was being used incorrectly. Xenophobia is an irrational fear of foreigners. It is like other phobias; claustrophobia, arachnophobia, agoraphobia. What is important here is that it is one, irrational and two, a fear. What is happening in South Africa is outrageous, out of control, anger driven hatred against foreigners, that results in action which is racist. It is unrealistic to believe that all these South Africans are suffering from a phobia. Let’s call a spade a spade. They are racists who are acting out.

Why this is important is because I believe that they need to be dealt with as such. We have an extraordinary constitution that, in principle at least, protects every race, gender, colour, culture and nationality and outlaws any form of discrimination. This kind of racist attack needs to be responded to with haste and severity. There can be no excusing or tolerating or justifying or downplaying this kind of thing. We need to name and shame. We need to be vigilant, aware and absolutely clear. And anyone caught doing anything, from name calling, bullying and shouting, to any physical violence, must feel the full might of the law.

Let’s say what this thing is. And let us be clear that it is not acceptable.

Prayer for Tolerance

On this last day of showing the world how beautiful

friendly and kind

Colourful and crazy

Generous and supporting

South Africans are, and can be.

On this last day

I am praying.

Hard and fervently I am praying

and making a call at the same time.

I am writing it and saying it.

I am praying and even begging

that not one person in this country does something

to somebody who isn’t originally from here.

Please. Let us all get ready to stop it from happening.

We are armed with good feeling.

We are padded with pride.

We are forewarned with reality.

Now, let us protect these lives,

from nations we loved when they were playing soccer.

That terrible feeling

5671cb488fc54e8cbd05a66e0318eded “I know. It’s happening.”, says Samson in The Tent. And yesterday it started again in De Doorns. Zimbabweans were chased out of their homes, which were destroyed by South Africans who claim they are ‘stealing their jobs’.

I cannot begin to explain to you what I feel. Mostly it’s rage. And also fear. I also feel physically sick when I think about it. How can people do this to each other?

We have to sleep with one eye open. We have to watch their backs. Please. No more xenophobia. Please. No more violence. Please. No more unfixable heartache for these, the most displaced and desperate. 

the brutal face of crime and poverty and desperation and violence on a beautiful Cape Town morning

It’s only 09h10 and I haven’t even gone to rehearsals yet, but I am shaken and headachy. Big Friendly says it’s from the adrenalin. On the corner of our tiny road in Woodstock there is a block of crumbling, ancient flats that is getting a bit of a make-over. The work is haphazard and messy, with men and dust and banging. It’s the usual; a make-shift team of foreign illegal labour, doing their best to make a few Rand.

This morning the workers caught an itinerant somebody rifling through their clothes. Apparently, yesterday some workers’ clothes were stolen. When he tried to run away they caught him and started beating him. Big Friendly went to stop them from killing him while I called 10111. What a joke. As I put the phone down I realised it had been a total waste of time and I found the number for, and called the Woodstock police station, panicking the whole time for Big Friendly. The Woodstock police station is not even four blocks away from us. Still, it took four phone calls and over half an hour for a ‘lorrie’ to get here. Every couple of minutes the workers would get disgruntled and want to hit him again. Every few minutes I called and was either bitched at by the call answerer at the police station, or put on hold while he took another call. When the van finally got here they took him away. I’m convinced he wouldn’t have survived if they hadn’t.

It’s just so sad. The poorest of the poor are being robbed by the even poorer. There is no faith in the law, or justice or policing. When the police arrived all the workers scattered. They are also breaking the law by being illegal immigrants. I can’t imagine how bad it must have been for them that what they are suffering now is better.

A Tent

late last night I found this image on the M&G news in pictures gallery.


It was taken during the recent displacement of foreigners in what came to be known as the xenophobic attacks, that spread like flames all over South Africa.

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