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Gangsters is a play by Maishe Maponya. A play about a tortured poet “Rashechaba” (= “father of the nation”) in a South African prison. Apparently inspired by Beckett’s Catastrophe, which Maponya had directed in 1984. First performed in The Laager at the Market Theatre in 1984, First published in D. Ndlovu (ed) Woza Afrika! An Anthology of South African Plays by George Braziller, New York, in 1986. Later also in Doing Plays for Change: Five Plays (Ed. Ian Steadman), by Witwatersrand University Press, 1995. Performance of the play was originally limited to “experimental” (i.e. “approved”) venues, and forbidden elsewhere by the Publications Control Board. (See Censorship, Section 7) In an American production at the Lincoln Centre, New York in 1985, the clothed male figure (“Rasechaba”) was replaced by a naked female (“Masechaba” = “mother of the nation”).

See also Die Gangsters by Ben Dehaeck.

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