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This article participates on the following special index pages:
Harare International Festival of the Arts (HIFA) 2011 - Index of articles, videos and images
2011: The Man who Committed Thought
Upenyu Makoni-Muchemwa, Kubatana.net
April 28, 2011
A man, educated
and African, finds himself in the gallows, charged with crimes against
humanity. He is a lawyer, educated in England, with a firm belief
in Christian values, and has more than just a passing admiration
for the Queen and his adopted country. He is a man who has been
alienated from his culture, identity and people. Mamadou, a peasant
farmer with a sizeable family but limited means bursts into the
lawyer's life begging him for help, or rather mercy. Mamdou'
s cow has expropriated by the government without compensation and
now he wants to sue, to take back the rights that were forcibly
taken from him. As the story unfolds the lawyer encounters the corrupt
and powerful President Junta, who is shortly unseated in a coup
led by ‘Tuff Boy' a rebel leader. It is only when he
witnesses the murder of Mamadou at the hands of the rebels that
the lawyer finds his humanity, but in his quest for justice he commits
unspeakable crimes, for which he is brought before the court.
The facts of
the play may be specific to Sierra Leone, but it is the story of
every African country cursed with resources. President Junta may
be a dictator, but he is a democratically elected one. He is fat
and wealthy off the numerous kick-backs and deals he receives from
governments and multinational corporations wishing to do business
in his country. Western leaders, donors and corporations treat him
like a king, as though the country and its people were his personal
property; unchallenged, he behaves accordingly.
‘Tuff Boy' is a grotesque illustration of a rebel leader,
high on cocaine, formerly angry and powerless, until he took up
arms and waged war on the government. Tuff boy asserts his power
through the gun and innumerable rapes of women who feature in the
play as nameless, faceless and voiceless victims.
lives on in the lawyer, who condescends towards and patronises Mamadou.
Despite his high handed Christianity, the lawyer is torn between
his disdain of the ignorant and poor ‘native', and his
baser native instinct which drives him to lust after Mamadou's
The man who
committed thought is a moving play that is an indictment of the
hypocrisy of the human rights agenda, aid, and the nations that
give it. It illustrates the conflict between humanitarianism and
humanism, and shows that right and wrong are not necessarily black
and white, but rather, they are painted in shades of grey.
Man who Committed Thought
Summary: In this moving and provoking video clip, the protagonist
asks what, really, we mean by justice and democracy, when their
foundations are so often rooted in hypocrisy.
Duration: 3 mins 49sec
Date: April 28, 2011
Filmed by: Kubatana.net
File Type: MOD
- Size: 47.4MB
File Type: MP4
- Size: 5.26MB (lower quality)
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