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Writing In A State Of Siege English Literature Essay

The ten old ages between 1948 and 1958 recorded the hustle and perturbation of societal life and exhibited the necessity and possibility of a united battle against racial favoritism. The broad spread bitterness at the pass-laws, liquor foraies and unequal comfortss in 1950 resulted in the suppression of ‘Communism Act ‘ . The word ‘communist ‘ it self meant ‘unlawful ‘ . In 1952, eight thousand people were imprisoned for opposing the apartheid ordinances. Chief Albert Luthuli, the President General of the African National Congress was banned for his committedness to a democratic and inter-racial hereafter in South Africa.

Thingss were in limbo and in 1958, as the Whites did non necessitate any licenses, the Athol fugards were advised to travel to Sophiatown, a ‘freehold township ‘ , a topographic point which combined thaumaturgies and carbon black, reputability and offense, black and white and the most ‘lively and crowded ‘ of all the African townships, where the inkinesss and the Whites could travel freely, with certain societal restraints.

As Jurger Schadeberg observes,

“ There was poorness in Sophiatown.

There were countries that were slightly slummy. There were packs. There were offense and there were cutthroats, but it was a existent suburb. It had all the installations a normal suburb has. Whereas when people moved to Orlando or Meadowlands, or whatever, there was nil at that place. Sophiatown was romanticized afterwards. Sophiatown was a symbol because it was a topographic point where people were non assorted than in other topographic points. And people owned their ain belongings. ” ( Schadeberg, 2002: 111-112 )

Sophiatown was preponderantly black and besides preponderantly hapless.

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The greater portion of Sophiatown was a sickening slum. As Don Mattera observes ‘the small Chicago of Johannesburg ‘ was basically known for its cosmopolite spirit and every imaginable infinite was occupied by a living thing – adult male or animate being ‘ . ( Mattera 1987:49 ) . Derek Cohen besides observes,

“ The little corner of the universe, the all but disregarded township of the 1950s, Sophiatown, teems with the assortment and vivacity of the universe itself. Deep in the bowels of this house of hungriness, where work forces and adult females tread a diurnal factory of want and indignity, lie, as Fugard reminds us, humanity and strength ” 3. ( 1984:273-284 ) )

The township besides had a surprisingly arresting rational ambiance as the black journalists were seeking to show their feelings. Jim Bailey ‘s Drum magazine covered the township life. Drum ran articles about every month, describing on offense figures, the fortunes coercing ordinary citizens into a life of offense, and the shebeen civilization, which fed these offenses.

Benjamin Pogrund, a broad friend of the Athol fugards advised Fugard that he would happen the right ambiance in Sophiatown for his drama.

The lone occupation Fugard could happen was that of a clerk in a Native Commissioner ‘s Court where wrongdoers of the pass-laws were tried. The barbarous conditions gave birth to his pessimism and his earlier uncomplete novel ( Tsotsi ) found its voice in the two dramas of his apprenticeship old ages, No-Good Friday and Nongogo which represented the parturiencies of the black township.

Though they were his early dramas and though they lacked the ‘dramatic appeal and vision ‘ of his later dramas, they indicate the fighting head of Fugard to stand for his stance as a playwright. If No Good Friday undertakings the impact of bad economic conditions on the persons who aspire for better societal conditions and instruction, Nongogo reflects the aspirations of the people who dream for better life and single self-respect. These two early dramas belong to the formative phase of Fugard ‘s adulthood as a playwright.

Good-for-nothing Friday and Nongogo both represent the apartheid injury of the South African Society. An geographic expedition ( Gray,1981:56-63 ) into the manuscripts of the first novel of Fugard, ( which he threw into the Fiji laguna ) Tsotsi, which was published in 1980, reveals Fugard ‘s anxiousness during his apprenticeship old ages to show the jobs within the bing conditions. Fugard ‘s early dramas, No-Good Friday and Nongogo besides portion some of the facets of Tsotsi as they were set against the same surroundings. Stephen Gray5 ( 1981:56 ) feels that the characters of Tsotsi appeared in the subsequent dramas of Fugard – like The Blood Knot, Hello and Goodbye, People Are Living There, Boesman and Lena and in many of his dramas written during the 1970s.

Fugard presents the firing ardor of an inchoate black revolutionist against the development faced by the inkinesss in No-Good Friday ( 1958 ) . This drama works at two degrees – at the surface degree, it appears to be a mere representation of the conditions of the inkinesss ; but at deeper degrees, it records the weakness of the inkinesss in the face of development by their ain fellow work forces during the conditions of the apartheid. Fugard presents the oppressive political relations working on the life of the township in assorted signifiers.

Crime by African against African was an mundane world in Sophiatown. For illustration an article in the November 1951 issue of Drum, ‘The Birth of a Tsotsi ‘ , describes the authoritative fortunes under which “ a immature male child takes the incorrect turning ” : “ With crunching poorness and the sea of sordidness that surrounds the ‘Gold City ‘ , it is non hard to understand the remainder. There is a battle for being, and the single intends to last. ”

Fugard records this battle in a realistic mode in his early dramas like No-Good Friday and Nongogo.

Willie Seopela, the independent and obstinate supporter is an draw a bead oning youngman and he stays with Rebecca, his lady love. Willie, an rational in the devising, with hopes for a brighter and better life, is a pupil prosecuting his undergraduate surveies through correspondence. He represents the image of the desperately obstinate black immature work forces of South Africa. Despite difficult fortunes, Willie is optimistic and extremely independent. He is liked by Father Higgins, the white humanist who visits the black ghettos to offer consolation. Father Higgins introduces Tobias, an guiltless villager, who comes to Sophiatown for a better life, to Willie and asks him to repair him someplace, as he is severely in demand of money for his life. Willie, aware of the ruinous state of affairs that awaits black people in the township, asks Tobias non to entertain large dreams. He does non do any promise to Tobias.

The occupants of the black township are often nagged by Shark, a black mobster who appears every Friday, the twenty-four hours of their hebdomadal payment. The guiltless occupants ought to offer a portion from their wage packages either to Shark or similar other mobsters in trains and on roads. They can non even do a ailment against them to the constabulary, for, they do non hold the ‘pass-books ‘ to remain in that town. In a manner, they buy their ‘protection ‘ from Shark, their fellow black South African.

Even the independent Willie makes a inactive life leting the portion for Shark from his Friday ‘s pay-packet. Tobias, unaware of these facts innocently argues about the portion and gets killed in the custodies of Shark. It is merely after the decease of Tobias, Willie realises the gravitation of the state of affairs, the consequence of their inactive attitude and decides to oppose Shark in malice of the homicidal effects. In the procedure, he sacrifices his love for Rebecca. The drama ends with Willie acquiring prepared for the challenge.

The drama undertakings a narrative of loss of relationships, loss of values and loss of security or protection in the white inhibitory universe.

Willie, the supporter condemns the state of affairs in Johannesburg and really frequently he appears to be the mouth-piece of Fugard. We are often reminded of the life-situation described in Peter Abrahams ‘ Mine Boy, Alan Paton ‘s Cry, the Beloved Country and Alex La Guma ‘s A Walk in the Night and And a Threefold Cord. Life is non easy at that place and it has become intolerable, as observed by Father Higgins, a character in No Good Friday. The inexorable state of affairs of an unprotected life is summed up by Guy really good. Talking about Shark, he says:

“ Do n’t you understand? He ‘s got portions in the constabulary station. . . . . . You can bury about the constabulary. They protect a chap like Shark. You see they are merely interested in our base on ballss. But a Kaffir puting a charge against a criminal-that would be a gag. We are all felons. Look, Father, do non be hard on us. You know what I have merely said better than any other white ” 8. ( 1977: 146 )

As in The Blood Knot and other dramas here excessively Fugard arranges his scenes and the supporter to show the conditions which reflect their quandary. Asked by Guy to explicate their ‘sad life ‘ , Willie says that the music of their life is a vocal of ‘melancholy, solitariness and desperation ‘ ( 1977:125 ) and this is reflected in every scene, every chapter and every duologue.

The drama portrays the difficult worlds of the life in Sophiatown, particularly on Friday, which is a ‘fertile acre for problems ‘ ( 1977:126 ) . Father Higgins, though cognizant of the all pervading nature of sorrow, expresses his weakness when Willie asks him if he wants “ to works a Narcissus pseudonarcissus ” in his pace.

As Don Mattera describes:

‘The ghetto-like township was unpredictable and unsafe. There were times of seeking for a loved one in some back street ; happening him or her wounded in a infirmary or gaol, or dead in a mortuary. Or look intoing for hubby or male parent, a brother or a boy who had ne’er returned place from work. Or waiting for a female parent, an aunt or sister who did non acquire off the coach or tram where you normally waited for them. Then the torment and anxiousness that would follow studies of a adult female raped, beaten and robbed by the jobless and wo n’t work brigades of tsotsis who owned the yearss and ruled the darks. ‘ ( 1987:50 )

Good-for-nothing Friday portrays all these jobs in Sophiatown, – absence of attention by the authorities, unemployment, defeat, poorness, insecurity, gangsterism, immoralities of pass-laws, broken bonds of love and the ‘cheapness ‘ ( ) of life seen through the lives of assorted characters. Despite the difficult work, they can barely make places safely with their Friday pay-packets. Reflecting the jobs of township life, the drama is presented in the back pace of Willie and it indicates their poorness amidst Fe hovels. The drama has black every bit good as white characters, like Father Higgins, who resembles Rev. Trevor Huddleston, who made a campaign against the rigorous Torahs of the apartheid in the townships. It besides records the migration of the guiltless young person to the townships to happen employment. The drama records the ramping gangsterism, a societal immorality, an subjugation by the notoriously stronger 1s, which has no resistance. It besides shows how the underprivileged 1s are victimised. The race-laws worsen the conditions of life and the Group Areas Act had restricted the inkinesss in the name of the pass-books. The base on balls Torahs had been a lasting menace to the African people. As observed by Edward Roux:

“ The base on balls Torahs held the people in conditions of low poorness and subjugation aˆ¦ were the cause of crisp racial clash between the peoples of South Africa upheld the inexpensive labor system which resulted in malnutrition, famishment and disease and filled jails with guiltless people, therefore making wide-spread offense ” 19. ( 1964:320 ) .

Fugard besides undertakings the concealed societal angle – the White constabularies adult male ‘s ‘hidden apprehension ‘ with the black mobsters like Shark.

Talking about the offense of Sophiatown Bloke Modisane writes,

“ I learned at that place in Sophiatoown, that one looked at the violent death and ne’er at the faces of the slayers ; one besides knew that the jurisprudence is white and justness casual, that it could non protect us against the knives of Sophiatown, so we tolerated the slayings whilst the jurisprudence encouraged them with its indifference ” . ( 1986:63 )

The occupants of Sophiatown can non near the constabulary, who are evidently on the side of jurisprudence. The inkinesss continue their ‘survival ‘ in beastly conditions. These and similar conditions are portrayed in a more powerful mode in Sizwe Bansi is Dead.

If Tsotsi traces both gangsterism and the realization on the portion of the supporter in a individual person, No-Good Friday undertakings the immoralities of gangsterism through Shark and the realization appears in the supporter, Willie.

Having understood the significance of life and the manner it is being shattered in Sophiatown, Willie mourns over the wretchedness of their lives and the impossibleness of life. He realizes that life is non a fairy narrative with a happy stoping. The absurdness of life forces him non merely to be off from Rebecca but from his ain life itself. To do his life more purposeful and less mundane, he wants to oppose Shark by informing the constabulary. His dreams of “ populating merrily of all time after ” get shattered and he says:

“ aˆ¦aˆ¦.I gave up dreaming. Tobias reminded me of excessively much, Guy. He was traveling to do some money and live merrily of all time after. Thecosy small dreamaˆ¦ like this, Willie and Rebecca lived merrily of all time after! That ‘s how the faery narratives end and it ‘s stupid because, out there is life and it is non stoping merrily ” 14. ( 1977:155 )

He feels that life is conceited and useless without a protest against the job. He blames the persons within his society including himself for leting such jobs.

Willie ‘s resistance to Shark and the words of the cunning politician Watson undertaking Fugard ‘s choler against such conditions. When life becomes awful and unprotected, it becomes meaningless. The decease of Willie is non the terminal of the sequence, but it makes a bold beginning of resistance against gangsterism. It is besides the defeat and battle for a better life.

The action of the drama takes topographic point between two Fridays and the drama carries assorted emotions like temper, sarcasm, shame, choler, defeat and calamity, the representative feelings of an ‘impoverished, fragmented and violent society20. ( Sheila Fugard: 1993:408 ) .Watson, the politician stands as a satirical portrayal of the township ‘s black politicians, who demand a forfeit from the guiltless inkinesss, for their ain improvement. The ironical dedication of the vocal of Guy, Friday Night Blues itself speaks about the subject of the drama. Shark, the mobster with a important name swallows people like Tobias and ironically congratulationss those who pay him on a regular basis. The drama brings out the fact that the people of the township should non hold “ cozy ” dreams about comfy life.

Traveling against the tradition of picturing the mobsters from the romantic point of view, as was done by other authors of his clip, Fugard presents Shark, the mobster, as a cruel world. As observed by Don Mattera,

No narrative about gangsterism or force in the townships of Johannesburg can be complete without that of ‘Kort Boy’- existent name George Mbalweni – the five-foot-nothing knifeman from Benoni, a former excavation town on the East Rand near Johannesburgaˆ¦Kort Boy was a fable in his twenty-four hours much hated, much loved – it all depended on which terminal of knife you were at ” . ( 1987:102 )

Fictional characters in No-Good Friday are many, stand foring the limitless jobs of his society. Each character stands for a job. Fugard does non offer any solution but he represents things as they are, for an apprehension of what was traveling on in South Africa. As a symphathising white broad he expresses his sense of weakness in the aftermath of events and the act of composing itself becomes an act of bravery and committedness as an person and as a author. Despite the remotion of the apartheid status, they enjoy their cogency, for, these dramas stand as records of the fiftiess. Fugard brings out his message best – the job of ‘survival ‘ in the aftermath of hopelessness, dejection and devastation.

No Good Friday had its Prime Ministers on 30th August 1958 after ten old ages of the induction of apartheid in South Africa on the crude phase of the ‘Bantu Men ‘s Social Centre ‘ and Fugard was praised by the African monthly ‘Zonk ‘ for giving his unknown histrions, a fantastic chance to demo their endowments. Apart from the shows in ‘Bantu Men ‘s Social Centre, the drama was besides staged amidst church walls in the townships, to black audiences and in the White suburbs. Fugard was refused permission to see even the productions he directed. During the tally of No-Good Friday Fugard established friendly relationship with of import managers like Barney Simon and Tone Brulin. Not merely to the histrions, but to the people ( both inkinesss and Whites ) of Sophiatown, it offered a range to see themselves and their jobs on the phase.

Although the drama has its ain proficient mistakes, as observed by critics -like heavy plotting, limitless characters etc, the drama brings out the determining head of Fugard as a playwright with societal concerns. The characters apart from stand foring the troubled people of South Africa become possible images – if Willie, Tobias, Rebecca and Guy stand as the victims, Shark and Watson stand as the wicked political images of the barbarous outside of South Africa. The perennial usage of the ‘fairy-tale ‘ image with its mention to the impossibleness of comfy life speaks about the quandary of the life of the inkinesss in South Africa under the force per unit area of the barbarous racialist jurisprudence.

Fugard does non show this play as a mere piece of amusement. It is a realistic papers about the sorrowful life of the black people of Sophiatown who “ suffer from inter-and intra-racial subjugation ” . Fugard recognises that to be black in South Africa is to be hapless, and that black being is imbued with the battle to happen release from the rhythm of poorness and the average quality of life need creates. ( Albert Wertheim: ) It provokes us to believe and Fugard makes his observations and statements come alive through the characters he brings on to the phase. As observed by Sheila Fugard19, the germinative thoughts of a nascent dramatist got fortified in his ulterior dramas like The Blood Knot, Sizwe Bansi Is Dead, The Island, “ Maestro Harold ” … and the male childs.

Fugard incorporates his rational and single stances of rebellion in Willie the black supporter. Through him, he voices out his feeling, which necessitate the ground for resistance against the awful forces like gangsterism which bear the impact of several cruel racist Torahs ; but harmonizing to Nkosi, the drama ‘had really small concern with the political relations behind the chronic force and gangsterism in the ghetto ‘ . ( Vandenbroucke, Russell ) .

Nkosi feels this as a restriction. On the other manus, white authors like Alan Paton and Fugard had observed moderateness in picturing their conditions. As analysed by Albert Wertheim ‘it was their moderateness that drew universe attending to the indignations of apartheid ‘ . The concluding address of Willie is cosmopolitan in its entreaty, as it explains the grounds for the birth and growing of such evil forces within a society. By doing the apartheid calamity ‘ACT ‘ on the phase, Fugard has achieved the theatrical and political significance of two words – ‘acting ‘ and ‘imagination ‘ .

‘Although Fugard sets many of his dramas in South Africa and more specifically in Port Elizabeth, he is non composing specifically South African calamity, for he uses his South African scene and this presentation of South African life under apartheid regulation to specify a tragic state of affairs imbued with significance far beyond the geographical boundaries of South Africa’.21 ( Albert Wertheim )

The drama is non restricted to South Africa entirely ; it entreaties to the life conditions of all common people who live in poorness ridden slums and ghettos of all parts of the universe. As observed by Albert Wertheim, the drama is set against a realistic background-it is a statement against subjugation, a characteristic that is found everyplace in the universe.


Schadeberg, Jurger ( erectile dysfunction ) .2002. Intervies, Johannesburg 15 March 2002:105-108 ( Transcript )

Mattera, Don.1987.Gone with the dusk: A Story of Sophiatown. London, Zed Books.

3.Derek Cohen, “ Beneath the Underworld: Athol Fugard ‘s Tsotsi ” , World Literature Written in English, Vol. 23, No.2, ( 1984 ) 273-84.

4. Stephen Gray, “ The Coming into the print of Athol Fugard ‘s Tsotsi ” , Journal of Commonwealth Literature, Vol. Sixteen, No.1 ( 1981 ) pp 56-63.

5. Ibid.P.56

6. Athol Fugard, “ Good-for-nothing Friday, Dimetos and Two Early Plaies ” , Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1977. All subsequent mentions are to this edition.

7. No – Good Friday, P 144.

8. ibid, 146.

9. ibid, 152.

10. ibid, 152.

11. ibid, 154.

12. ibid, 155.

13.Modisane, Bloke.1996.Blame Me on History, Goodwood, Western Cape: A.D.Donker

14. ibid, 155.

15. ibid, 160.

16. Albert Wertheim

17. No – Good Friday, p 155

18. Mattera, Don.1987:50

19. Edward Roux, Time longer than Rope, 2nd erectile dysfunction. ( Madison: University of Winconsin Press, 1964 ) p. 320 ; Quoted by Mbulalo Vizikhungo Mzamane, “ Sharpeville and its Aftermath: The novels of Richard Rive, Peter Abrahams, Alex La Guma and Lauretta Ngcobo ” , Ariel, Vol. 16, No. 2, April 1985, pp. 30-44.

20. Sheila Fugard, “ The Apprenticeship Years ” , Twentieth Century Literature, Ed. By Jack Barbera, Vol. 39, No.4, Win 1993, p. 408.

21. Mattera, Don

22. Albert Wertheim

23. Russell, Vandenbroucke, Truths the Hand can Touch, P.

24. Albert Wertheim,



( 1959 )

Like No-Good Friday, Nongogo besides, but in a different manner exposes the parturiencies of the black people in Sophiatown. It exposes the torment of the adult females who ran shebeens for support and who longed for ‘decency ‘ , though impossible. If Willie of No-Good Friday gets ready to confront decease with experiential bravery, Queeny of Nongogo laughs in the face of indecency and shame after a obstinate battle against them. Nongogo, like No Good Friday besides deals with the external and internal facets of the troubled persons against the background of troubled economic conditions and suppressive regulation.

The alone quality of Sophiatown was further enhanced by its shebeen civilization. Although inkinesss were non allowed to imbibe in the 1950s, they were non stopped by the prohibition. The Sophiatown shebeens sold illegal liquor, both boughten ‘European spirits ‘ every bit good as place brewed skokian. But the shebeens were non simply informal imbibing nines. They were homely topographic points where everyone knew each other. As apartheid ceased to be, intellectuals like Can Themba, Nat Nkasa and others used to distribute circles of literature in these shebeens. As Anthony Samson recalls:

The shebeens, nevertheless, were another narrative. Here was what Nat Nakasa called that ‘noble establishment ‘ , those ‘hospitable places ‘ . Here was a topographic point outside of apartheid as the names reflected: Back O’the Moon, Cabin in the Sky, Little Heaven, The Sanctuary, Kind Lady. “ ( Nicol: 1991:97 )

Modisane recalls how his female parent, after the decease of his male parent, was forced to go shebeen queen in order to maintain organic structure and psyche together. Her clients, he remembers, drank for one ground merely – to acquire drunk, as for them, “ acquiring rummy was a purposeful devastation of the hurting of their prevarications, a drowsing of themselves in this orgiastic outgo. They were interrupting out, get awaying from themselves ” . ( 1986:39 )

The bad economic conditions forced the black adult females to take up beer-brewing and shebeens to back up their households and to direct their kids to schools.

Apart from the realistic portraiture, Fugard ‘s drama focuses visible radiation on the concealed ugliness of evil economic background. As observed by Gerald Weales ( 1978: ) ‘both dramas trade with the enervating force of the black state of affairs in South Africa, but they do non so straight as an agitprop would. As in the novels of Peter Abrahams we watch shebeens, rummies, sordidness, hungriness, and prostitution- as consequences of subjugation. Dennis Walder ( 1993:414 ) in ‘The Genesis of the Township dramas ‘ observes:

“ The Sophiatown plays however reflected the aspirations, force, and verve of urban black people, offering a window into the universe of the letter writer pupil, Shebeen Queen, Tsotsi ( mobster ) and rural migrator for preponderantly white, broad audiences.They may now besides be seen to hold helped to legalize mundane urban black experience – the experience of the bulk of South Africans – as a topic, for inkinesss every bit good as Whites ” .

Nongogo presents the struggle between hope and desperation, the jubilation of life in all its beauty and the devalued being without virtuousnesss. As observed by Russell Vandenbroucke ‘Nongogo is a drama about the actuality of the past and forlorn hopes for the hereafter ‘ ( : 22 ) . The struggle is the consequence of exploitation. The drama has two acts-with the first act acquiring prepared for decency and reputability, the 2nd act plays a coronach upon the decease of these two qualities – decency and reputability. The drama as a whole exposes the guilt-racked victims of South Africa in both physical and psychological footings. Their ‘physical devastation ‘ culminates in their ‘psychological crisis ‘ , where their psyches wail with the torment for being the victims of the unsmooth outside of South African society.

The drama Nongogo exposes two persons who experience such angst and a sense of guilt. Both of them are spoiled by societal conditions of South Africa. Johnny is severely used by the masochistic, sex-starved mine workers and Queeny-is exploited by the animal appetency of the South African ‘masculinity ‘ , during her battle to ‘eke out a life ‘ . Both of them dream for ‘betterment ‘ -for a life of ‘decency and reputability ‘ which remain to be dreams-the dreams of impossibleness. Johnny and Queeny both stand as the physical images of devastation of the psychological ‘self ‘ . Like La Guma ‘s A Walk in the Night this drama undertakings the ‘brutalisation ‘ that has corroded the moral modules of the hapless. ( 1973:55 )

As Fugardxx himself observes, adult male is more concerned about ‘hunger ‘ – physically and mentally. Johnny and Queeny become the victims of the hungriness of pubess and of the hapless conditions of the ignored batch. There are other characters like Sam, Blakie and Patrick, who make a parasitic life and work against decency ; and who are besides in a manner, the helpless victims of the hapless conditions which can non be bettered, and they in bend victimise their fellow beings-Johnny and Queeny and their dreams of better life for their selfish intents. The procedure of exploitation here as in No Good Friday, is the consequence of both the internal and external facets of South Africa.

Queeny, a nongogo – a adult female for two and six- the proprietress of a shebeen gets enthused by the reaching and address of an unexpected salesman Johnny at her door-step. His manner of reference makes her experience that she should recover her lost sense of decency. His legitimate life makes her think of distributing with her shebeen and do a cleaner life with a sense of ‘decency and reputability ‘ which remain to be dreams- the dreams of impossibleness. Her ‘trust ‘ in Johnny encourages her to get down a legitimate cloth-business. Her thought of legitimacy creates distaste in Sam, her concern spouse and her earlier procurer and Blackie, her attender.

With the aid of Patrick, a way-ward rummy, Sam and Blackie spoil the head of Johnny by seeding the seeds of intuition. Johnny and Queeny come face to face and compelled by Johnny, Queeny unwillingly digs into her past and in this procedure, hates Johnny for his inability to understand a adult female ‘s bosom. The drama ends with Queeny re-opening the shebeen.

Fugard has taken attention in portraying the character of Queeny. Her desire for better life with a sense of decency and her desperation for non happening it organize the Southern Cross of the secret plan.

If No-Good Friday presents the procedure of victimization on the physical plane, covering with the decease of Tobias and of Willie, Nongogo deals with the same procedure, on the mental plane, bespeaking the decease of the ego, when there is the sense of guilt and incapacitated credence of the past life of ‘filth ‘ . The crisis of Johnny and Queeny, the victims of the South African society gets interiorized in Nongogo. As Robert M. Post observes, in other dramas of Fugard excessively we find these victims ( 1985:3-16 ) . Morris and Zachariah in The Blood Knot, Frieda and Errol in the Statements ; John and Winston, the political brothers in The Island ; Gumboot Dhalami in Tsotsi ; Sizwe Bansi in Sizwe Bansi Is Dead ; Boesman and Lena in Boesman and Lena ; Piet in A Lesson from Aloes and the rubric character of Dimetos-all of them have been victims in assorted ways.

Queeny ‘s wonder in determining her life as she had wanted gets shattered. She stands impotently alone before her ain life, a testament of clip, as a victim of fortunes. Her letdown as a life being against yesteryear, present and future life is made explicit through the usage of two images bespeaking clip – the singing wall-clock and the carpus ticker. Fugard really keenly exhibits the absurdness of human life against the unchanging nature of clip in the South African context. Johnny and Queeny remain as the victims of their scruples.

The two dramas Nongogo and No-Good Friday exhibit the emotional engagement of Athol Fugard in the jobs of the township. The hapless quandary of adult male and adult female in the South African townships comes alive on the phase. Fugard displays no political intent in his portraiture of the characters in this drama. His artistic engagement as a author and his personal reaction as a broad person made him stand for them in a realistic mode. As he observes Good-for-nothing Friday and Nongogo are “ hyperbolic poetry play by a liberally-informed white ” -but both the dramas are in prose. ( Quoted by Russell, Vandenbroucke, THCT, p.25 ) The gilded mines stand as a contrasting back bead to stand for the cruel outside of South Africa. As in No-Good Friday, in this drama excessively, we find the procedure of victimization. Johnny and Queeny stand as the victims of external conditions with a beat-up scruples and shattered interior ego.

Johnny ‘s utmost craving for ‘pure life ‘ makes him blind to his fortunes. He fails to handle Queeny as a human being like himself with a longing for flawlessness and for a life of decency. Queeny dominates the whole scene with her cognition of life and an consciousness of the nature of work forces. Her astute thought and her mature sentiments about muliebrity against the background of her unfortunate murky yesteryear as a ‘nongogo ‘ elevate her.

She says:

“ There is now. But there was a clip I thought I had all I wanted when I got this. But when I had it that was the terminal. There has been times I ne’er knew what twenty-four hours it was in hereaˆ¦ and I ne’er needed to cognize. I ‘d wake up and believe is it Monday or Tuesday, be Friday? It did non do any difference. Giving it a name did non do it any different from the rest. “ ( p.91 )

She exhibits a self-respect in the climactic scene when she is found re-opening the doors of her shebeen. Her hapless conditions had made her a ‘nongogo ‘ ; her desire for improvement made her think of the life of ‘decency and reputability ‘ and the presence of Johnny had made her one time once more the Queeny of shebeen. Her Resurrection as the proprietress of shebeen makes her a tragic figure.

She bursts out:

“ What do you believe I ‘ve been making for five old ages? It had ended Johnny, it was dead and buried when you walked in here. But you wo n’t allow it remain that manner, will you? You ‘d be worse than Sam, who merely sighs when he passes the grave. You ‘ve delve it up. You ‘ve performed a miracle, Johnny. The miracle of Jesus and Dead organic structure you ‘ve brought it back to life. The heat of your hatred, the breath of your disgust had got it populating once more. I ‘m non excessively old. . . non excessively fat. . . even you looked at me like you ne’er looked at another adult female. God ‘s set a batch of streets I ‘ve non walked, lampposts I ‘ve non stood under, faces I ‘ve non smiled at. ” ( p.114 )

Economic and societal conditions in apartheid South Africa, – the indecent shebeens, the parturiencies and failures of immature work forces to do a decent and cleansing agent life, the crud of the compounds and the helpless drunkards – these characteristics of the township organize the surroundings. They can non be changed because they are ineluctable. They are their beginnings of life, amusement and universes of relaxation. Jobbers and politicians like Sam of Nongogo and Watson of No-Good Friday acquire benefited from such conditions and they do non even think of a alteration.

Peoples make a life in malice of detesting themselves, their conditions and even one another. Queeny hates her life, Sam and besides Blackie. She hates even Johnny when he fails to recognize her stature and her weakness. Johnny hates himself, hates Queeny and the universe. Blackie and Sam hate Johnny. Life in the township is without any appeal. As said by Willie of No-Good Friday, it is ne’er a ‘fairy – narrative ‘ . It is full of hatred. Legitimacy has no room either in life or in the manners of life. A icky status of life is prevailing everyplace.

Fugard does non mean to offer any message in the portraiture of the lives of his characters. His purpose is to portray the calamity of the Sophiatown people and the ‘boot of subjugation ‘ to a great extent lying upon them. He has merely presented the human narrative and as he says, ‘propaganda has taken attention of itself ‘ . ( The New York Times, December, 1974 ) . The life of the township and its underworld has its reverberations in many of the novels of the South African authors like Alex La Guma and James Ambrose Brown. The drama exhibits the entire engagement of the author as an person and as a author. Every facet of their life is covered. His ulterior dramas like Sizwe Bansi and Master Harold recorded these conditions in a more sophisticated manner. As observed by Russell, Vandenbroucke, ( Quote from p. 24 ) Truths the Hand can Touch,

“ Nongogo and No-Good Friday both concentrate on “ alien ” facets of township life. The subject of single endeavor and upward mobility is cardinal to both. So is the differentiation between dreams and world. Yet premises about the relationship between adult male and his society are really different. Many of the characters Fugard creates in the old ages in front are besides concerned with their parts. Several effort to get away it. Unlike Johnny and Queeny, nevertheless, the lives of future characters are ne’er once more so contingent upon societal and environmental jussive moods as opposed to metaphysical and cosmic 1s ” .

Apart from the portraiture of characters as life images there are several verbal and ‘object ‘ images in the drama defining the conditions of the township. The compounds stand as the images of devastation. The shebeen itself reflects the past life of Queeny and her much precious ‘decent place ‘ proves merely to be a dream. ‘Life ‘ in the South African society itself becomes an image to demo the incapacitated being of adult male. ‘The broken pieces of glass ‘ base for the tattered life of Queeny and she expects that Johnny would ‘take it apart and set it ‘ together with a few betterments ‘ ( p. 79 ) . The ‘singing wall clock ‘ of the yesteryear and the ‘wrist ticker ‘ of the present base as symbols of ‘unchanged ‘ and ‘unchanging ‘ clip. The singing wall-clock reminds her of her yesteryear humdrum life as a Nongogo and the carpus ticker, which she wanted to show to Johnny as a ‘surprise ‘ has nil to state about her future dreams. All the ‘colours ‘ that occur in the ‘conversations ‘ reflect the tempers of Queeny and Johnny. The ‘filth ‘ which Johnny hates so often is both external and internal. Sam ‘s comparing of Queeny to a ‘bone chewed by Canis familiariss ‘ indicates the image of adulterate muliebrity in the township life. The image of the ‘ripe-apples with worms inside ‘ indicates the icky status of the life in Sophiatown. Like No-Good Friday, Nongogo excessively displays the protest against ‘oppression ‘ that works against endurance and if viewed from Queeny ‘s tattered angle, it is the protest against ‘oppression against muliebrity ‘ . As observed by Dennis Walder, the cardinal subject of these dramas is ‘survival ‘ , which is a key to an apprehension of their life in the township. ( 2003: )

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Writing In A State Of Siege English Literature Essay. (2020, Jun 02). Retrieved from

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