Afrikaans, Afrikaans and not a drop of Zulu, Xhosa or Tswana to drink
Albert Maritz caused a slight stir last week when he responded to an Artslink blog by Mike van Graan regarding the funding of the Afrikaans arts. Here is Mike van Graan's response:
I have great admiration for Albert Maritz as an actor, a director and a producer, and for his tireless work in pursuing and fighting for what he believes in; in the latter respect, he is an example to many theatre-makers and others in the South African arts community who passively accept what happens to them, rather than engage proactively in changing the conditions for their creative practice. However, his response to my article on the Fleur du Cap Theatre Awards seriously undermines his credibility and his activism as he selectively decontextualises sentences from within the article to support his basic (and factually incorrect) thesis, ie that the Afrikaans theatre-maker is drawing the shortest straw in the South African theatre industry at the moment. First, my article is not a critique of the awards (nor of those who received awards), but rather a critique of the theatre industry in the Western Cape which delivers the pool from which the Fleur du Cap judges need to make their selection; it was a response to the widespread criticism of this year’s awards ceremony, where only four of 64 nominations happened to be people of colour. Second, Albert’s defensive premise from which he interprets the article – that Afrikaans theatre-makers have the worst deal in the country – is not only factually erroneous but morally repugnant. Whereas Afrikaans theatre-makers are blessed with a number of festivals that are the key producers of theatre in South Africa today, there is not a single theatre festival in Zulu, Xhosa, Tswana, etc that promotes, celebrates and projects professional, mainstream theatre in those – or other indigenous African – languages today. For a more comprehensive response, see the attached speech given at the ATKV Forum at the Taalmuseum in Paarl in October 2011.