Give Us This Day

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Give Us This Day is a musical play written by Mzwandile Maqina.

The original text

The play is about the life and death of Abram Onkgopotse Tiro, a South African student activist and a militant member of the Black Consciousness Movement, who was killed by a parcel bomb by apartheid authorities in Botswana in 1974.

The play used the graduation speech Tiro delivered at the University of the North on April 29, 1972, Tiro's self-exile in Botswana, and dealt with how Tiro came to open the parcel bomb that claimed his life in 1974.

"The play was written in a way that it could be any student of the time" Maqina says. He always took pains to conceal the political nature of his plays.

Performance history in South Africa

Give us this Day was presented as a biblical story and performed in community halls across the country until late in 1976 when government officials finally caught up with the story and realised what the play was really about, which led to its banning.

1986: Presented at Dramfes '86.

2015: It was Maqina's children who led the revival of Give Us This Day and who took it to Grahamstown in July." At this year's National Arts Festival, Maqina took a young cast of actors and actresses from Port Elizabeth, including some of his eight children. and staged Give Us This Day at Grahamstown's City Hall throughout the festival.


Article by Thabo Jijana, published in The New Age, 2 October 2015. Page: 27.

Andile Xaba. 2021. 'Collective memory and the construction of a historical narrative, analysis and interpretation of selected Soweto-based community plays (1984–1994)'. Unpublished PhD thesis.

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