Mamre roer die mense van Mamre

December 17, 2016 in Uncategorized

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To my English-speaking friends, please scroll down through the pictures. Below them, I give a detailed description of the event, and I explain why it was held on 16 December.

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Vir my Afrikaanse vriende: Gisteraand, 16 Desember 2016, het die mense van Mamre, ’n baie klein dorpie aan die Weskus, hande gevat, want Whaden Johannes het Mamre na Mamre gebring.

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’n Kiekie vooraf: Gisteraand was daar vier mense op die verhoog. Heel links is Zandré Johannes, Whaden se boetie, dan Whaden Johannes, Jodi Jantjies en Brizano Erasmus.

Whaden was in die hoofrol, Jodi was Tarra, en Zandré en Brizano het die begeleiding gedoen.

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Die man wat nie op die verhoog was nie: Morne van Staden. Morne is ’n projekkoördineerder  by die ATKV en is verantwoordelik vir die sukses van ATKV-Crescendo. Whaden is in 2014 ontdek deur die Crescendo-span, terwyl Jodi en Brizano deel was van 2016 se Crescendo-span.

Almal wat al deel was van ATKV-Crescendo, sal kan vertel dat Morne hart en siel deel is van die projek. Hy is nie bloot ’n werknemer nie, hy is ’n pa, ’n seun, ’n broer, ’n vennoot, of ’n kombinasie hiervan, vir enige een van die span wat dit nodig het, wanneer hulle dit nodig het.

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Mamre is ’n klein, historiese dorpie aan die Weskus. Whaden het gisteraand vir die gehoor gesê: “Mense kom skiet films in ons dorp. Wat doen ons?”

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Hierdie gedenkplaat vertel iets van die geskiedenis van die dorp.

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Die toneelstuk het plaasgevind op die klip waarop die gedenkplaat aangebring is. Die stuk is geskryf deur Nico Scheepers, in samewerking met Whaden Johannes. Dit het op Aardklop gedebiteer met Scheepers as regisseur.

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Die stuk het gisteraand gespeel voor Tori Osso, die restaurant waar die hoofkarakter en Tarra suiker gesteel het, aldus die verteller in Mamre.

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Whaden in aksie. Mamre vra ernstige vrae aan die Kerk, van daar die grootse gebaar van versoening, en aktivisme, wat later die aand voor die kerkgebou plaasgevind het.

Tarra, die vroulike karakter, word verkrag, maar dominee, die hoofkarakter se pa, wil nie teen sy ouderling, wat die verkragter is, optree nie.

Dit is ’n tannie in Mamre, wat haar Christenskap op ’n gedwonge wyse buite die kerk moet uitleef, wat die verskil maak in hierdie karakters se lewens.

Die stuk is dus nie teen Geloof nie, dit is wel teen die mag wat gelowiges vir hulleself toeëien. Ek gaan nie meer vertel nie, want die stuk gaan nog toer. Gaan sien dit.

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Applous vir Zandré, Whaden, Jodi en Brizano.

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Whaden nooi almal om saam met hom voor die kerk te bid teen die volgehoue geweld teen vroue en kinders. Hy sê ook dat Versoeningsdag, 16 Desember, wat ook die laaste dag van die #16DaeVanAktisime is, opsetlik gekies is vir hierdie oomblik.

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Whaden lei die optog.

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Whaden wag voor die kerk.

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Die mense kom aan.

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’n Sirkel word gevorm.

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’n Kring van gebede gaan op.

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Last night the people of a small town on the West Coast joined hands. It was a memorable moment in the ongoing fight against violence that haunts our society and it was a young man, Whaden Johannes, who had planned and executed this memorable night in Mamre.

Whaden grew up in this town. In 2014 he was selected to be part of ATKV-Crescendo, a programme to train voices for the music industry.

Whaden has since been seen on stages across the country.

Earlier this year he teamed up with the award-winning young playwright, Nico Scheepers, to create a play about life in the small town of Mamre. Scheepers scripted the play and directed Johannes while it played on the arts-festival circuit. The play is called Mamre.

It is a scathing attack on the people with power, specifically those in the Church who claim to speak on behalf of God, who turn a blind eye to the needs of young people who are sexually abused.

Significantly, there is a character in the play who acts as a correction. She is forced to act out her Christian faith outside the formal church.

Last night Johannes brought the play, Mamre, back to Mamre. It was staged in the open air on 16 December, a public holiday known in South Africa as the Day of Reconciliation.

After performing the play, Johannes led the attendees to the church. In the light of single street lamp, everyone held hands while prayers were said against the ongoing violence on women and children.

For those who do not know the significance of the 16th of December, here is a quick summary:

1 This was the date, on 16 December 1961, on which Umkhonto we Siswe, the armed wing of the African National Congress (ANC) was formed, since the ANC could not find a peaceful solution to apartheid. In the ongoing wars between those who wanted to liberate South Africa and those who opposed the ANC, thousands of women were raped. Both sides were guilty. To this day, South Africa has the highest incidence of rape in any country that is not officially at war.

2 Further back in history, a battle between white settlers and a Zulu army took place on 16 December 1838. Infamously this battle was captured by the right-wing church as an example of God being with whites in any battle against “heathens”.

3 Since both these dates were so significant in the way people saw race and freedom in South Africa, the new government chose to commemorate the date, 16 December, as a day of reconciliation. It has since become a public holiday.

4 The final significance of this day is that the battle against rape has not yet been won – on the contrary. And so, each year various institutions take part in an event with a hashtag: #16DaysOfActivismAgainstAbuse. While this too is controversial, many women feel 16 out of 365 days are woefully inadequate, it is used by activists to highlight the significance of all the historical events that had led to our violent society; and the ongoing violence against our communities.

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It was a brave act of Whaden Johannes to bring his play Mamre back to Mamre and then to lead a conciliatory prayer-meeting outside the church.

To me it was a privilege to be there.

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