In a man's world at The Artscape Women and Humanity Arts Festival

Thanks to my dear lifelong friend, Carol van der Rheede,I went to see the stage production, "In a Man's world" at the Artscape Women and Humanity Arts Festival on the opening night of the festival last Thursday.

The Opening Ceremony

The ceremony of the opening night was a well orchestrated inclusive multi-sensory experience. Besides one or two longwinded speeches, it was indeed a powerful statement of how we can embrace all - the 'humanity' aspect. I was fascinated with a young girl - wheelchair bound- who exuded confidence and charisma despite the adult crowd.

The arts have a particular responsibility to keep alive the conversations about the ongoing challenges facing people - including all the groups at risk like those with disabilities, women who face untold abuse and even men who are steeped in the macho culture that pervades our nation. A tough task, but a bold artistic response of Artscape to tackle head on the all pervasive macho culture and the various  forms of cultural oppression that frame our society.

From left: Zelda Mycroft of the Chaeli Campagin, Carol (HCI Foundation), Yolanda Smith, Gert Bam (City of Cape Town Director of Sport and Recreation), Berenice Daniels (Director of SES of WCED)

Gert Bam, Marlene Le Roux (Director of Development of the arts at Artscape) and Yolanda Smith, who also assisted with the Women and Humanity Arts Festival
A snapshot of the stage production, In a Man's world ,by Director Jerry Pooe

The stage production, In a man's world, has not been intended to be a feel-good play. In fact, the writer and director, Jerry Pooe, made that point clear to us when he addressed us after the play. The play deals with the reality of the macho culture - a difficult, complex issue that we do not want to confront in our discourses in all the spaces - public and private. In the play we see how four brothers struggle with issues of violence, of anger, bitterness and frustration after their mother's passing.

At the mother's wake, we see the four brothers unravelling. Each one of them is a tormented soul, bearing the scars of broken family life,being victims of abuse and becoming part of the vicious cycle of abuse in horrific forms. We hear too how the mother herself suffered although the young men grapple to understand how she was caught up in the oppressive web. We also hear how the various fathers of the young men were the embodiment of the macho-ness, being both recipients and perpertrators of violence in various forms.

In a man's world is a hard-hitting play, skillfully executed with just sufficient pathos to drive home these realities. I thoroughly enjoyed the play with all its unease it evoked to keep this difficult issue of macho-ness and the consequent impact on the lives of men and women.

I was again challenged to delve deep into my soul and examine whether I was growing in my responsibility as an 'ability activist' as Chaeli Mycroft advocates.

From Left: Sharon, Carol, Yolanda, Gert and Berenice

From left: Shermon and his friend enjoying Carol's company during the cocktails.


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