Mike van Graan, playwright and Executive Director of the African Arts Institute, sees the murder charge against Oscar Pistorius as a metaphor for the current state of South Africa – a country that achieved a “miracle” transformation and was united by sporting achievements such as the 1995 Rugby World Cup but is now facing challenges such as racial tension, violence, inequality and corruption.
As with Pistorius, Van Graan writes in The Guardian, the warning signs for South Africa are there, but if it is covered up and not addressed, tensions will continue to erupt, as evidences by the Marikana shooting. “We are all Oscar Pistorius. Oscar Pistorius is us. What a terrifying thought,” he says.
In a recent conversation with a cartoonist, he suggested that his daily work had changed from providing insights into our lived reality through over-the-top images, to toning down our over-the-top reality for a baffled and battered citizenry, through light relief.
Artists, cartoonists and writers often use metaphors to provide insights into the state of our society or some aspect of it. While President Jacob Zuma’s halting, unconvincing delivery of his state of the nation address was an apt metaphor in itself for the government’s poor delivery of its oft-repeated “better-life-for-all” promises, it was Oscar Pistorius who provided the best “state-of-the-nation” metaphor on the very day that the president opened parliament.
- Theatre in Translation Vol I by Proyecto 34°S Proyecto 34°S
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