'Baby Tshepang's story still relevant as ever'

CapeTalk presenter John Maytham is at the National Arts Festival 2016 and reflects on the production "Tshepang."

The rape of 9-month-old Baby Tshepang shocked the country in October 2001. Almost 15 years later, the play that National Arts Festival featured artist, Lara Foot, first produced in 2003 is as relevant as ever.

The story of Tshepang and her horrific rape is told by township sculptor, Simon, some three years after the event. The baby's mother, Ruth, is on stage throughout, mute, and, literally, rubbing salt into her wounds.

The play's greatest strength is its nuanced understanding of individual responsibility and the role played by societal dysfunction. Yes, the mother's boyfriend physically raped the infant. But, as Simon angrily retorts at one of the vulture flock of journalists that descended on the northern Cape township in the immediate aftermath, this place has been gang raped many times over.

15 years on, the horrific statistics around ongoing child rapes tell us that the systemic, historical dysfunction and soceital illness that makes these violations almost inevitable are, depressingly, still very much with us. It's an exceptional piece of theatre, written and performed with a rare and wonderful integrity and compassion.

I watched it as one of about a dozen adults in an audience of nearly 300 senior school pupils. The silence; the drawn-in breaths; the audible groans of horror all attested to their, and my, total absorption in the drama. In the post-performance discussion, Lara Foot, stressed to the shell-shocked audience that she'd not written Tshepang to send people home saddened; bur rather to get them engaged, because that engagement is the first step in becoming part of a solution to a terrible scourge.


Recommended

by NEWSROOM AI

CapeTalk welcomes all comments that are constructive, contribute to discussions in a meaningful manner and take stories forward.

However, we will NOT condone the following:

  • Racism (including offensive comments based on ethnicity and nationality)
  • Sexism
  • Homophobia
  • Religious intolerance
  • Cyber bullying
  • Hate speech
  • Derogatory language
  • Comments inciting violence.

We ask that your comments remain relevant to the articles they appear on and do not include general banter or conversation as this dilutes the effectiveness of the comments section.

We strive to make the CapeTalk community a safe and welcoming space for all.

CapeTalk reserves the right to: 1) remove any comments that do not follow the above guidelines; and, 2) ban users who repeatedly infringe the rules.

Should you find any comments upsetting or offensive you can also flag them and we will assess it against our guidelines.

CapeTalk is constantly reviewing its comments policy in order to create an environment conducive to constructive conversations.

Read More
'Even if Sarb was nationalised, govt can't change its mandate'

'Even if Sarb was nationalised, govt can't change its mandate'

EFF leader Julius Malema has introduced a bill to nationalise the South African Reserve Bank (Sarb) in Parliament this week.

New radio telescope launched in SA to solve 'dark energy' puzzle

New radio telescope launched in SA to solve 'dark energy' puzzle

The multimillion-rand apparatus will be based at the site of the MeerKAT radio telescope array in the Northern Cape.

You will soon be able to book your learner and driving licence test online

You will soon be able to book your learner and driving licence test online

The online RTMC system has been created in a bid to put an end to corruption at licensing departments, among other reasons.

Belfast stage company moves John Maytham in play "Those You Pass On The Street"

Belfast stage company moves John Maytham in play "Those You Pass On The Street"

"It's an evening of provocation and inspiration, that lingers in the mind and the soul long after the house lights have come up."

John Maytham reviews theatrical adaptation of Ruth First's story

John Maytham reviews theatrical adaptation of Ruth First's story

The play tells the real-life story of the anti-apartheid activists, and John Maytham offers his honest thoughts on the production.

John Maytham pens his thoughts on performances at the National Arts Festival

John Maytham pens his thoughts on performances at the National Arts Festival

CapeTalk presenter John Maytham is in Grahamstown for the National Arts Festival, and comments on his cultural experience so far.

Popular articles
[LISTEN] Codeine addiction and abuse

[LISTEN] Codeine addiction and abuse

Member of the SASOP, Dr Eugene Allers chats about the causes behind addiction to over the counter medication.

Signs your jealousy may be getting unhealthy

Signs your jealousy may be getting unhealthy

Managing jealousy has become increasingly important, particularly with the evolving structure of modern relationships says Dr Eve.

Survivor winner Tom Swartz vows to buy his wife 'new boobies and a family house'

Survivor winner Tom Swartz vows to buy his wife 'new boobies and a family house'

Swartz says he would have done anything to get the R1 million prize money.

'There is no way Magnus Malan could've done the things he is accused of'

'There is no way Magnus Malan could've done the things he is accused of'

Former police minister Adriaan Vlok has rejected accusations that former minister Malan was at the centre of a paedophile ring.