The Rhythm of Violence

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The Rhythm of Violence is a play by Lewis Nkosi. An emotional but basically unperformable political play about a group of militant black students who plan to blow up the Johannesburg City Council and a Nationalist Party rally, and the personal battle between two brothers and the plight of a white woman embroiled in the moment. Widely studied in the 1970s and 1980s.

The original text

Written in exile in the USA, the play was published by George Wellwarth in Themes in Drama (New York: Thomas Crowell), in 1964, then in a single volume by Oxford University Press in 1964. The play was immediately banned in South Africa, since it may have been the first play to openly advocate violence as a course of action open to blacks in South Africa.

Performance history in South Africa

No formal performance has been recorded, though clandestine student productions no doubt took place in South Africa from time to time.

Sources

Various entries in the NELM catalogue.

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