During the months of May and June 2008 in South Africa, 62 foreigners were killed, over 1000 injured and nearly 80 000 displaced as a result of xenophobic attacks. Many economic migrants have since returned to their countries of origin and despite the efficient assistance of donor organisations, these 'foreigners' are too scared to return.
According to Simon Reader, Head of Theatre at P and P, "We are used to confronting issues in civil society such as diversity, HIV/Aids and corruption, but the xenophobia attacks required a much deeper and more tailored approach. We met with international organisations working in South Africa and came to the conclusion that the period of May and June was best 'seen' through the eyes of a 'foreigner'".
The performance is based on the morning the attacks made the headlines. "We decided to swap roles of 'local' and 'foreigner'. In this play, the foreigner tells the story of the local, and the local tells the story of the foreigner," Reader adds.
Much of the information gathered in the creative treatment was sourced from the open public debates and perceptions drawn from both international and national media. The objective is simple but emotive; the themes of tolerance, information, community support, co-operation and 'NEVER AGAIN' feature strongly.
"Our intention is to assist the process of reconciliation in diverse communities and businesses. It is critical that this information is accessible to all South Africans," Reader concludes.
This performance has been met with approval by The Department of Home Affairs and P and P will be looking to secure an official endorsement from Deputy Minister, Milusi Gigaba.
For more information, click on www.pandp.co.za
or contact Simon Reader at 011 447 3511.