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New South African Plays


A collection of new plays from leading South African playwrights of the post-apartheid era


New South African Plays

Edited by Charles J. Fourie

The Playground by Beverly Naidoo | Taxi by Sibusiso Mamba | Green Man Flashing by Mike Van Graan | Rejoice by James Whyle | What the Water Gave Me by Rehane Abrahams | To House by Ashwin Singh


A collection of six plays dealing with the new South Africa, published in 2006 to celebrate 10 years of democracy post-apartheid. Plays about racial conflict, the impact of AIDS, power and corruption, the legacy of the past and female identity.


The Plays

The Playground by Beverly Naidoo

“…it floats on a haunting, echoing raft of traditional South African harmonies that make watching it a joyful experience as well as a thought-provoking one…” Time Out Critics’ Choice – Pick of the Year

Taxi by Sibusiso Mamba: Edinburgh fringe first winner

“a superbly written and produced play… A fine piece of work that’s refreshingly free of cliches.” Daily Mail, Pick of the Week

Green Man Flashing by Mike Van Graan

“…This finely crafted drama tears at the heart and soul of our democracy, and rips at the underbelly of corruption and political power through its astute writing…” Star Tonight

Rejoice by James Whyle

“… the cruellest irony of all is left until the end… the same one which has spelled the death of Rejoice… And millions more.” Friends of BBC Radio 3

What the Water Gave Me by Rehane Abrahams

“tales that retrieve ancient magics and reveal contemporary terrors…” Cape Times

To House by Ashwin Singh: Finalist in the 2003 PANSA (Performing Arts Network of SA) Festival of Reading of New Writing (the country’s foremost playwriting contest)

“To House is an important piece of theatre; in it people voice opinions that are uncomfortable and edgy. The cathartic and therapeutic value of hearing these things said aloud in a public place is part of our essential healing process and proves, once again, that art has the ability to go where angels fear to tread.” Daily News, Durban


About the editor

Charles Fourie is one of the leading playwrights of his generation. His multi-award-winning plays have been produced at the Baxter Theatre, South Africa and at the Croydon Warehouse Theatre in London. He has been actively involved with promoting South African playwrights abroad.

About the authors

Beverley Naidoo was born in Johannesburg. As a student she joined the resistance to apartheid, leading to detention without trial and exile in England in 1965. Her award-winning fiction includes Journey to Jo’burg (banned in South Africa until 1991), Chain of Fire, No Turning Back, The Other Side of Truth (Carnegie Medal 2000), Web of Lies and a short story collection Out of Bounds. Her PhD explored teenagers’ responses to literature and racism and she has received honorary doctorates from the University of Southampton and the Open University. The Playground is her first stage play and was a Time Out Critis’ Choice 2004.

Sibusiso Mamba is an actor/writer who was born in Swaziland in 1978. He comes from a family of four and a large extended family. He trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in England. He has performed in theatre, radio, television and film both in England and South Africa. He’s also written plays for the National Theatre Studio, Chalkfoot Theatre Arts and BBC (Radio 4, World Service). Sibusiso writes for television in South Africa and works as an actor whenever and wherever he can. He lives in Johannesburg with his partner, Manuela.

Mike van Graan graduated from UCT with a BA Hons in Drama. He is a cultural consultant and has held several posts including Director of the Community Arts Project, National Projects Officer for the Congress of S.A. Writers, Director of the Bartel Arts Trust Centre, General Secretary of the National Arts Coalition and currently General Secretary of the Performing Arts Network of S.A. He also writes a weekly column for The Mail and Guardian. His previous plays include: The Dogs Must be Crazy and Some of Our Best Friends are Cultural Workers, both of which were selected Hot off the Fringe at the National Arts Festivals where they premiered in the 90s; Dinner Talk, winner of the 1998 Fleur du Cap Award for Best New Script and Hostile Takeover, runner-up in both the Jury and Audience Award categories at the 2004 PANSA Festival of Reading of New Writing. His new play Some Mothers’ Sons was the Jury runner-up and won the Audience Award at the PANSA Festival of Reading of New Contemporary Writing in November 2005.

James Whyle is an actor, writer, director and producer. He turned from acting to writing in 1994 when it first became possible for the real issues of South Africa to be addressed on South African Television. James was head writer for TV3’s acclaimed Hard Copy, and has written for TV2’S Emmy nominated Zero Tolerance, M-Net’s crime drama Snitch, the TV1 series Mzansi. He continues to write radio drama for the BBC. Dancing with the Dead (2002, Radio 4), the leading role was played by Richard E Grant. A Man Called Rejoice, was re-broadcast for the third time in May 2004. James is a senior writer and, on occasion, story liner, on the South African daily series, Isidingo – The Need. In 1981 James wrote his first play, National Madness, based on his experience in, and escaping from, the SANDF. National Madness was performed at the Market and Baxter Theatres in the early 80s and published in Market Plays 2, edited by Stephen Grey. (AD. Donker, 1986) His second play, Hellhound, was performed at the Market Theatre in 1992. A story, Sapper Fijn and the Cow appears in The Penguin Book of Contemporary South African Short Stories. (1993)

Rehane Abrahams is a theatremaker, playwright and performer (actor, dancer). She is currently based in Indonesia where she develops theatre projects and studies classical Javanese dance. She co-founded the Mothertongue Project, a collective of women theatre artists based in Cape Town, South Africa and Teater Gelombang (Theatre of Waves) in Indonesia, which aims to develop arts exchange along the Indian Ocean Basin. This is her first play to be published. The Mothertongue Project is a collective of women performing artists who are interested in exploring the sacred in and through performance. A major focus of their work deals with transformation and healing, thus empowering the audience to recover and discover their own resources for self-healing.

Ashwin Singh is an attorney, academic, playwright, director and actor. His first anthology of plays, Durban Dialogues, Indian Voice was published in 2013 by Aurora Metro Books. The book is being studied and/or referenced at a variety of universities in South Africa, India, Canada and Europe. Singh has also been published as a playwright in the collective anthologies, New South African Plays (Aurora Metro Books, 2006) and the Catalina Collection (Catalina UnLtd, 2013). He is also a published poet and academic author. Singh is a three-time national award winner via the PANSA Playreading Festival (the country’s foremost playwriting contest) with his plays To House (2003); Duped (2005); and Reoca Light (2012). He is also a respected stage and radio actor, having performed in a number of dramatic and comic productions. Singh also played a lead role in award winning UK director James Brown’s short film about child abuse, One Wedding and a Funeral.
























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