An Important Interrogation of the Concept of Reparations: Ameera Conrad's Reparation – what is owed?
Ameera Conrad is the final recipient of the Emerging Theatre Director’s Bursary for 2016 and has written and directed the play Reparation, which plays from 27 November to 3 December at 20:00 at Methodist Church Hall, cnr Milton Road and Wesley Street, Observatory, Cape Town.
Each year four directors receive a bursary from the Theatre Arts Admin Collective to write and direct her own play, Reparation, critiqued as “a fast-paced, cutting and decisive play that does not allow anyone to get away with anything."
The review by Gilly Hemphill of The Famous Idea Trading Company is “a strong and no holds barred examination of post-Apartheid-Apartheid South Africa. Debt is owed, and this production defiantly asks and demands, “How will it be repaid?”
The play, Reparation interrogates two key questions prevalent to the contemporary South African #feesmustfall context; “what debt is owed?” and “how is this debt repaid?” It suggests that “Black South Africans, since the end of Apartheid, have not demanded reparations for the human rights violations inflicted upon them during both the Colonial and Apartheid eras and that the compromise of reconciliation, as opposed to retribution, is what saved our country from civil war in the ‘90s.” But Khulumani has sustained the long struggle for reparations in South Africa, that remains unfinished because as Conrad asserts, “the country has failed the population who were most affected by the atrocities of the past.”
Ms Hemphill’s review highlights that it is the issue of reparations for the atrocities committed against people for hundreds of years by white settlers in South Africa that the play engages directly when it asks, “What do white people owe black people for the sins of their ancestors, and how will they settle the score?”
The highly relevant theatre piece prophesises the potential outcome of a power shift, and what extreme measures some are willing to take to gain and maintain power, using “justice” as a shield. It also looks at the role that young people and social media hold in social justice movements, and how popular culture can be used as a post-modern propaganda tool. It is to this audience that Hemphill attests that the play will be most resonant – the generation that watches local content; listens to Cassper Nyovest; is impolite and loud; that graduated from UCT in 2015 and had stun grenades thrown at it outside Parliament; that will give you your tip when it gets its land; that has got one bullet; that drinks Lemonade and ice tea; that speaks in memes.
Khulumani's National Director, Dr. Marjorie Jobson made a presentation on reparations to the PARI Pan African Reparations Initiative Conference in September 2016: