Playwright: Baby rape question unsuitable

2013-11-27 14:10
Lara Foot. (Baxter Theatre)

Lara Foot. (Baxter Theatre)

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Concern over baby rape exam question

2013-11-27 09:39

Matric pupils writing their final dramatic arts paper were asked to describe how an actor could portray the rape of a baby by using a broomstick and a loaf of bread. Watch.WATCH

Cape Town - Playwright Lara Foot has released a statement in reaction to the controversy surrounding a matric drama exam question relating to her play Tshepang, which deals with the rape of a baby in 2001.

Parents and educators voiced their shock after pupils were asked how to represent the rape of a baby symbolically, with the use of a broomstick and bread, The Witness reported on Wednesday.

According to the basic education department, the question relating to Foot's play was designed to assess their understanding of the concept of "action metaphor".


Foot stated she was unsure of the particulars of the exam question, but said it would be "totally inappropriate and frankly appalling" if it was set as an unseen extract from the work, or if the play had not been studied or seen by the pupils.

Even if the play had been studied by the matric pupils, Foot pointed out that the question "is unsuitable and entirely problematic in that it appears to miss the stylistic choices of my play".

"We have performed Tshepang to 14 000 learners over the past 10 years with very successful and rewarding question and answer sessions afterwards. The exam question as it is presented indicates that there is a misinterpretation on the part those who set this question.

"Given the history and statistics of rape in this country, it is imperative that the matter is dealt with, but dealt with sensitively and responsibly."

Foot said the last time she had contact with the education department was six years ago, when she was approached to use the play as a set work.

In a statement on Wednesday, the basic education department said it would consider excluding the question if it becomes apparent that any pupils had been negatively affected by the question.

Read more on:    education  |  matric  |  child abuse

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