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Kom ons praat oor Baartman wat opgestaan het

Deur Herschelle Benjamin

Produksie: Ons is almal freaks hier

Met Lee-Ann van Rooi, Kay Smith, Albert Pretorius en Garth Erasmus

Regie:  Nicole Holm

Ons is almal freaks hier, geskryf deur Ingrid Winterbach, het by vanjaar se Woordfees groot opslae gemaak en uiteenlopende kommentaar uitgelok oor die teks, die skrywer en die vertoning self.

Maar by #Kunskierige KKNK 2018 is dit ’n ervaring wat jou dalk kan leer om gemaklik te raak met die ongemak in ons psige oor die geskiedenis en ons hede. Die hele gesprek rondom wie mag wat.

Soms verstom ’n produksie jou met tegniese en artistieke visie wat deurvloei van die karakters na jou as gehoorlid, vertolk deur akteurs met integriteit en eerlikheid.

Dit is ’n teks met vele lae van allegorie, temas en hoe jy dit begryp. Soms walg dit jou, en soms daag dit jou op elke vlak uit. En die storie van Sarah/Saartjie Baartman is reeds opsigself uitdagend.

Eienaarskap en herkoms is deesdae soos piepper in jou bek vir ons jonger stemme. Ons postapartheid-identiteit en globale burgerskap dwing ons om altyd op ons hoede te wees vir onregte, regstellings en liberale/aktivistiese bewegings waarin ons belangrikheid as mens verstaan word. Ons glo ons stories is eg en ontwikkel met die tye waarin ons leef. En niks hiervan is verkeerd nie.

Onbeskaamd  mag ons vooruitstrewend leef en The Kardashians kyk. Maar onbeskaamd mag ons ook dieper delf in onsself en die vlietende identiteite wat ons elke oomblik herkonstrueer.

Dié produksie lê die grondslag vir toekomstige volronde burgers in ’n komplekse land soos Suid-Afrika. En die reis rondom die kompleksiteit van onsself is soms gebind aan die ongeskryfde of reeds geskryfde stories waarin ons verteenwoordig voel. Perspektiewe en ongekende ervarings kan altyd opvoedkundig wees, aanleiding gee tot groei.

Voordat ons ons kategoriseer volgens kleur, geslag, klas, kultuur, nasionaliteit en ’n spesifieke generasie, is ons heel eerste mens. Sarah Baartman is mens. En wat die mens aan sy medemens doen en gedoen het, kan nie genoeg in die akademie, wetenskap en psiges ondersoek word nie. Nicole Holm het ’n produksie geskep wat jou aan albei laat dink.

Soos jy deur die Prince Vintcent-gebou stap en by ’n vertrek inloer, soos ’n toeris, of selfs ’n afloerder is, en die storie van Baartman se lewe deur dig geweefde karakters ontvou, word jy herinner mens is mens, maar ’n mens is ook sy/haar kleur, geslag, klas, kultuur, nasionaliteit en generasie.

“Meer as ’n dier. Minder as ’n mens.” Só proklameer Van Rooi as die ouer Sarah Baartman en nael jou vas teen die muur met elke beweging op die skip en elke woord wat stemloos na buite skree. Kay Smith is die jonger Baartman en haar teenwoordigheid is onmisbaar, selfs sonder woorde. Want sy is daar. Sy is die geskiedenis wat nie geïgnoreer kan word nie.

Albert Pretorius se onderskeie manlike karakters beweeg gemaklik tussen die twee Baartmans en skep ’n sardoniese komiese element, wat verligting kan bied, of ongemak kan veroorsaak.

Ja, toe Sarah se oorskot teruggekom het, het skares haar koms gevier. En nou – wanneer sy weer opstaan in stories, toneelstukke en gedigte – is dit tyd dat die sluise oopgemaak moet word vir gesprekke. Gesprekke wat met sensitiwiteit, eerlikheid en verdraagsaamheid gevoer moet word oor hoe ons geskiedenis vervleg word in die hede en watter implikasies dit inhou vir toekomstige generasies.

* Vertonings: 30 Maart om 18:00, 31 Maart en 1 April om 18:00 en 20:00, 2 April om 09:00, 3 April om 20:00, 4 April om 09:00 in die Prince Vintcent-gebou.

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