Friday, 8 August 2014

5 August - Tuesday - Meeting with Dr. Saths Cooper

Today, Masie & I met with Dr. Saths Cooper, a signatory of the 'Bible' as well as a strong supporter of the play and the educational outreach that surrounds the play.  I had the honour of formally interviewing him twice [2008 & 2010] and he was involved in the play development phase at the Market Theatre in 2010 participating in a Q & A which followed the play for an audience of young people.  

He, being one of the few non-politicians whom I interviewed, had strong views about how he feels about him spending his youth and young adulthood in the Liberation Movement for what he sees today in South Africa as, what he calls, a 'deriliction of duty by the current leadership.'  

I expected our meeting to be about the past - where the play has gone and how the educational outreach of the play has developed.  But, no, in fact, without preparation, Saths pitched a new idea to the two of us.  His idea, which has great resonance with me, is to record as many of the quickly fading voices of the men who were imprisoned on Robben Island.  Basically, a hugely scaled up version of the work that I have been doing over the past six years.  But this work would focus on the grass roots, the foot soldiers of the Liberation Movement rather than, as my research invitably did, focus on those in the Leadership' Section on Robben Island.

One of my great regrets of my work recording the stories of these men is exactly that - it was just the stories of the men in the Liberation Movement.  I can justify it by saying that it was only men who signed Sonny's 'Bible' but it is certainly still a regret.  I hope that I can convience Saths that the women of the Struggle are also recorded and accorded their justice.  Today, being 'Women's Day' in South Africa [8 August 2014], I hope to make this a reality.

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