- April 17, 2020
Fugard`s Plays and the Anti-Apartheid Movement
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Fugard’sPlays and the Anti-Apartheid Movement
Athol Fugard is a playwright that was known for the various playsthat criticized the Apartheid government in South Africa. Often, heused his characters to complain about the social ills that the systemhad caused to the Black community. More important, he used theplatform to protest the challenges that the Blacks had to undergobecause of the discriminative legislatures. This essay focuses on the"Master Harold" …and the Boys, aswell as Sizwe Banzi Is Dead, toillustrate how the main characters used their roles to highlight thechallenges of the Black people under the Apartheid government.
"Master Harold" …and the Boys revealhow the characters are protesting against the Apartheid system thathad been implemented in South Africa. In this case, the Hally seemsto despise the Black people even if he still interacts with Willieand Sam that work for his mother. He occupies a higher class whilethe Blacks are only servants that have to struggle to get enoughincome to meet their basic needs. For instance, a conversationbetween Willie and Sam at the jukebox captures the difficulties thatthe Black people had to face in the Apartheid era. When Willie asksfor a sixpence, Sam shakes his head while Willie insists that he onlyhave the money for his bus fare. The scenario shows how the Blackpeople are even unable to have enough money for the jukebox and thatreveals the level of poverty that the system had caused. Apart fromthat, Hally asserts that “the sheer audacity of it tookmy breath away. I mean, seriously, what the hell does a black manknow about flying a kite?” (Fugard, lines 826-829). Hissentiments illustrate how the Whites feel about the Black people inthe society. The scenario is clearly a product of the Apartheidsystem that has undermined the position of the Blacks in the nationwhile giving the White people a chance to sabotage theircounterparts.
The play Sizwe Banzi Is Dead talksabout a South African man that goes to the township with the hopes ofsecuring a job. Instead, he fails to get one, and the government evengives him three days to leave the city. The pass systems are the onesthat dictate if one is supposed to stay in a particular place or not.In this case, Fugard shows the consequences of the pass system thatwas introduced during the Apartheid period. For instance, Sizwe Benzireveals that “they never told us it would be like thiswhen they introduced it. They said, Book of Life! Your friend! You’llnever get lost. They told us lies” (Fugard et al., p. 33). Thestatement captures his frustrations and reveals how the period was adifficult time for the Black people since they were unable to workand move easily within their nation. Later,he also reveals that “Sizwe Banzi wants to stay here inNew Brighton and find a job passbook says, ‘No! Report back’.Sizwe wants to feed his wife and children passbook says, ‘No.Endorsed out’” (Fugard et al., p. 33). The sentiments reveal theproblems that he faces and the inability to feed his family becausethe pass system and the Apartheid system prevent him from having ajob.
In conclusion, Fugard used"Master Harold" …and the Boys aswell as Sizwe Banzi Is Dead toreveal how the White government had vowed to discriminate the Blackpeople using the Apartheid policies. For instance, "MasterHarold" …and the Boys showhow Sam and Willie could not afford coins for the jukebox while Hallyundermined their abilities to create a kite just because they areBlack. Sizwe Banzi, on the other hand, argues how the pass system hasrestricted his freedom and he is not able to walk freely and seekemployment that will feed his family. Hence, Fugard used thecharacters in his plays to protest the social ills that the Apartheidgovernment committed.
Fugard, Athol."Master Harold… and the boys." Theater 14.1(1982): 4-26.
Fugard, Athol, John Kani, and Winston Ntshona. Sizwe Banzi isdead. British Broadcasting Corporation/British Open University,1977.