For the purposes of this encyclopaedia, Afrikaans Theatre (Afrikaanse Teater or Afrikaanse Toneel) normally refers to theatrical work and performances created and staged in the Afrikaans language (or a regional variant of it) by South Africans. Depending on the focus, this may include Afrikaans language translations of texts from other languages when speaking of performances.
More specifically the term can refer to:
1. The entire body of theatrical work published and/or performed in the language of Afrikaans (or at least predominantly in Afrikaans. The late 20th century saw the rise of many multilingual and/or cross-cultural plays, films, TV programmes, etc., and these are often counted as Afrikaans and English (or Sotho, Xhosa, Zulu, etc.). In the case of performances, this usually includes foreign works in Afrikaans translation or adaptation.
2. The specific and separate Afrikaans theatre system which (as a sub-system of the overarching South African theatre system or theatre industry, encompasses not only the particular works and their publication and performance, but also the performers, the directors, the designers and all other supporting administrative systems, including the audiences, the festivals, the critical systems and so on. Though not a formally constituted entity, the notion of some kind of (predominantly) Afrikaans theatre system, which differs from other theatre systems, (e.g. the Dutch, English, French, German, Sotho, Zulu, Xhosa, and so on), has existed from the late 19th century, and is still generally accepted today - despite the ostensible "democratization" of the South African rainbow nation. The concept of a language specific has at times of course been a means of exclusion (the Dutch and/or Afrikaans by the English and vice versa; the Xhosa by the English and Afrikaans systems, and vice versa. However, it has also been a source of intense cultural pride and of creativity within each of those communities.
An additional factor in the latter category is of course the fact that so many South Africans are proficiently bi- or multi-lingual. Afrikaans-speaking performers for example, often also perform in English productions.
See also Afrikaans
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