'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
Liverpool vs Real Madrid UEFA final has football fandom in overdrive

Liverpool vs Real Madrid UEFA final has football fandom in overdrive

Sports writer Kevin McCallum explains why support for the Champions League has transcended borders ahead of the final.

CPS says there isn't enough money to payout cash grants

CPS says there isn't enough money to payout cash grants

CPS claims Sassa has not paid for its service to pay social grants in cash, reports EWN's Lindsay Dentlinger.

Why moving Parly to Pretoria could be costly

Why moving Parly to Pretoria could be costly

Wesgro CEO Tim Harris argues that relocating Parliament to Pretoria might not make the most economic sense.

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
Dr Eve busts myths about the female orgasm that could change your sex life

Dr Eve busts myths about the female orgasm that could change your sex life

As many as 1 in 3 women have trouble reaching orgasm when having sexual play, clinical sexologist Dr Eve explains.

The Man of the Mountain: Why I'm climbing Table Mountain every day for a year

The Man of the Mountain: Why I'm climbing Table Mountain every day for a year

After being retrenched last year Andrew Patterson decided he wanted to do something more fulfilling with his time.

If you go down to the Spar today...join SA's biggest pajama party!

If you go down to the Spar today...join SA's biggest pajama party!

Spar customers are being encouraged to head out for the weekly shop in their PJs today and you get a free coffee in return!

'Impossible to think violent protests in CPT are anything other than political'

'Impossible to think violent protests in CPT are anything other than political'

Just this week WC Human Settlements MEC Bonginkosi Madikizela said he believed the protests were being 'orchestrated'.

How much you need to retire ‘comfortably’ (and the best ‘investment’ ever)

How much you need to retire ‘comfortably’ (and the best ‘investment’ ever)

For your assets to generate an income that lasts as long as you do; here’s what you’ll need to amass (and tips for getting there)…

'Sexting is a great way to keep spice in long distance relationships'

'Sexting is a great way to keep spice in long distance relationships'

With the help of technology and a good imagination, sex in a long distance relationship doesn't have to be out of reach.