21 Wandah!: Trumphalism of empty-tin games

We thought Hunger Games was an unlikely joke, and then we got Donald Trump.

Want to know what on-fire (been lit for some time now) black youth think?

21 Wandah! is it.

This is a game show from hell. An African hell. So why is it so hellSA awesome?

If I was 21, this is the show for me. There’s history; a bit of Sophiatown, and there is lots of now energy in this devilish, wild, lament.

Hype, hype, hype. Yuu! This is the SA game show Zuma’s era brought us. Full of loud, crass, populism, thinner than the wage slip these youths are likely to never  earn.

Contestants from carefully selected socio-economic and cultural strands must writhe and knot and shaft in a battle for the final prize which is something of which I cannot speak.

They are all turning 21, all so full of life, they’ll even wake you from the dead cold metal-bench cavern which holds us, the craven consumers of all this desperate, fake news. And,  tapping into triumphalism, there’s always some sad, sodding youth who is going to get fired. Rejected, ejected, excoriated, sent to the outer realm to rot in worthless nothingness?

We are the game. Every bit of the dysfunctional us is here, reduced to the echoing bleating of the damned in our cavernous townships, rural areas, frontline neighbouring states, all our desperation for a career, a loving, cohesive home. Damn, one relative, even Fikile  Mbalula as  a father figure, will do.

How does misery become so noisy? So chip-packet skraal? It’s a dangerous riot, not a game. But, my god, do we love these games, these digital amphitheatres of emotional and psychological death

Why do we feel so happy? Because this is  post-digital youth  play about life itself forged by the vibrant sons and daughters the lost generation.

And it is a struggle play.

And how startling that it was hammered out, forged with bellows, and beneficiated to near-perfection at the Market Theatre Laboratory by its second-year students?

How shocking that many of its makers are fruit of the non-violent anti-pass campaigners of Sharpeville, tough, simple, working people who were smart enough to know that to keep beast at bay,  they would have to put their lives on the line.

So I say, let this sublime piece, born of shit politics and politicians, roll on through the land. I hope it gets through to the millions of disconnected, brainwashed, wandering youths, out there,and that they get the message and rejoin the true struggle for freedom, democracy and meaning.

21Wandah! is on tonight (Sunday) at 7.30 and tomorrow at 5pm. Book Here.

Credits. Director Campbell Meas, performers: Market Theatre Laboratory second-year students.



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