R 1 211 - Apartheid, yesterday and today
Karelle Menine - 14 juillet 2013

La chorégraphe Mamela Nyamza présente avec la comédienne Faniswa Yisa - toutes deux nées en 1976 - un Sujet à Vif en finesse sur une Afrique du Sud qui n’en finit pas de se débattre avec un passé qui pourrait être avenir.

Once upon a time, a South-African militant said : « People must arrive at vanquishing this element of political life that plays against them. This element is their feeling of inferiority. »

That’s what it is said in the program, as a prelude.

16th of June 1976. Soweto, 8.am. At the beginning, a simple student manifestation. At the end, a massacre.

This year - 1976 - became for South-African artists a reason to fight, but also to explore a creative energy. A naked page for imagination, across through its own violence and its own poesy.

The question is : what about our inferiority ? What about your inferiority ? What about this reality ?

Mamela Nyamza was certainly ready for another scene. A « more official » one. A big one. But she was invited to the Sujet à Vif. Well. She offers there – with Faniswa Yisa - a subtle blend of political and invisible things.

And it’s a long long story.

A World story.

A Human stuff.

People borned in 1976, woken from a black sleep, full of flames.

And, sometimes, it takes time to wake up.

On stage, Mamela Nyamza and Faniswa Yisa wear the colours of their country. The two acts of the History. The three colours of the flag — black, green and yellow — are found in the flag of the African National Congress. The other three — red, white and blue — are used in the old Flag of Transvaal, the modern flag of the Netherlands and the flag of the United Kingdom. The colours white and blue were also found in the old flag of South Africa.

Faniswa wears the yellow part, as a domestic, or a slave. Mamela the blue part, as a queen. They dance for the reconcilation. They try. But when they are close to it, when it becomes easy, when we see all the colours touching each other, two German dogs arrive and bark. And both women, immediately, kneel down. It is not so easy to protect yourself from the feeling of inferiority.

Later, to calm the dogs, Fanswa offers them some water. And the two dogs become quiet. “If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner” says Nelson Mandela and, before him, Sun Tzu in his The art of war.

Mamela says that she loves her art because “it has this powerful tool that speaks to all without a word.” But her art is, in fact, an intense writing.