The Class of 2017 recently attended a performance of The Fall at Cloetesville High School as part of the US Woordfees 2017 festival.
The performance made use of elements of poor theatre. Actors had no costume changes, the set consisted of three tables moved around to suit the needs of the scene.
The performance traces the progression of the Fallist movement at the University of Cape Town, from its inception on 20 March 2015 through to the erection of Shackville on the university’s upper campus in February 2016.
Audiences experience these events from the perspective of those students who led the occupation of Bremner Building (Azania house), the calls for the statue of Cecil John Rhodes to fall, the call for men’s residences to challenge and change their patriarchal culture, the call for outsourcing to end and the ongoing call for tertiary education to be free.
The play provides a fresh insight by examining the discussions that happened among protest leaders and the conflict of ideas over what the Fallist movement’s priorities should be.
One of the cast members, Sihle Mnqwazana said that he would encourage everyone to watch the play “especially the older generation who confuse their experiences as being vastly different from ours. You will find the root of our problems and pain is all the same.”
The play touched on many issues, from patriarchy and gender inequality to racism and the reality of those students affected by these issues at university.
It also showed the problems that were experienced within the movement, with many disagreeing and some even giving up on the movement.
The cast consists of UCT drama graduates Ameera Conrad, Oarabile Ditsele, Tankiso Mamabolo, Thando Mangcu, Sizwesandile Mnisi,Cleo Raatus and Sihle Mnqwazana.
“When I strongly resonated with the term ‘black pain’ that was used in many lectures to describe the oppressive experiences that we had and were going through as people of colour, I got lit and became active in the movement.” Mnqwazana said.
They also wrote the play which shares their experiences during the rise and progression of #RhodesMustFall and subsequent mass student movements. It was directed by two of the cast members, Ameera Conrad and Thando Mangcu.
The play gave an insight into the reasons behind the actions taken by students during the protests.
Some members of the audience shed tears during the play.
According to the UCT television studio website, “the play does not offer solutions but it hopes to raise dialogue – as it did in the workshop process – on intersectional, institutionalised discrimination against the marginalised majority.”
“The play is there to open up what has been a barrier regarding the conversation of decolonisation and issues of the privileged ” said Ditsele. He went on to say that the play goes beyond the black and white dichotomy. It also questions gender roles within the black community, a “black” government that continues to “relish in the cries of their people” and the identity of Coloured people.
The UCT television studio website, “the play does not offer solutions but it hopes to raise dialogue – as it did in the workshop process – on intersectional, institutionalised discrimination against the marginalised majority.” – Aydn Parrott and Vonani Ngomana