Book plays timely role in Africa crisis

2008-05-25 00:00

Internationally renowned South African playwright Ronnie Govender was in the city yesterday to launch his latest book, In the Manure: Memories and Reflections, at a function held at the Woodlander Club in Allandale.

Govender has written more than 16 plays, one of which, At the Edge, toured India and was performed at the Edinburgh Festival and in Toronto and Glasgow.

His first novel, Song of the Atman, was shortlisted for the European Union Literary Award and the Commonwealth Writers Prize for 2006.

uMgungundlovu District Mayor Yusuf Bhamjee said it was apt that Govender was lauching his book at this time when the country has been hit by a xenophobia crisis.

He said Govender as a political and cultural activist plays a key role in addressing issues of identity, culture, tolerance and non-racialism.

Through his plays he asks his audiences, if you understand the evils within society, what are you prepared to do to stand up for what is right and just?

Govender said the xenophobic attacks are shocking in the extreme. He said when Chris Hani was assassinated, the country showed a tremendous sense of character and avoided a bloodbath.

Govender says that the question of identity “plagues us all” and recalled the strain in Indo-African relations sparked by the song AmaNdiya, by playwright Mbongeni Ngema, who later apologised. “We have been so indoctrinated that we fight when we are one, all members of the family of humanity,” he said.

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