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‘Catch 22’ highlights the impact of domestic abuse

‘Catch 22’ highlights the impact of domestic abuse

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Gender-based violence has been referred to as a global pandemic. And that is a fact. GBV does not discriminate. It knows no colour, race, class, income bracket or religion.

With every passing minute, every hour and every day, GBV keeps growing at an alarming rate as women and children continue to live in fear for their lives.

As the world observes the “16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children,” the Joburg Theatre is shining the spotlight on GBV and its impact on society.

In commemoration of this campaign, the Joburg Theatre will showcase a series of plays that will “indulge in the wounds of the victims and the mind of the abuser and pose questions about what the future of South Africa looks like if nothing changes”.

Speaking to IOL Entertainment, co-writer and director of the new play “Catch 22” Nqobile Hlekwayo-Xulu said it was through behavioural changes and having honest conversations that we can tackle these burning societal issues such as abuse of women and children.

“Catch 22” follows the story of Zwelihle Ziqubu, a black woman from Freedom Park, South of Joburg, who tries to trace when she first experienced gender-based violence in her four-year relationship.

After her near-death experience at the hands of her partner Zakhele, Zwelihle decides to go home.

Her sister Zinhle decides to “speak some sense” into her to not leave a good man. Aware of her financial challenges and uneducated background, she tries to find reasons to stay in the relationship.

Zwelihle is in a Catch 22 situation… must she leave and make life on her own at homes where she is not welcome or should she go back to her abuser?

‘Catch 22’ highlights the impact of domestic abuse
A scene from ‘Catch 22’. Picture: Nqobile Hlekwayo-Xulu

“The play focuses on GBV and femicide that women experience,” shared Hlekwayo-Xulu.

“The play follows a black woman in her mid-twenties, Zwelihle, who has been in a ‘vat en sit’ relationship with Zakhele, who goes back home after a near-death beating.

“Her traumatic experience is a trigger to many but what impact does the psychologically inequitable gender norms women are raised under have on Zwelihle’s decisions?”

Elaborating on the inspiration behind the play, Hlekwayo-Xulu said: “As a woman, born and raised in South Africa I have had to learn from an early age, tactics to keep myself safe.

“And so, when we started the writing process, we made a reference to each character to someone we met.

“Everything in the show is realistic. I have heard more people questioning victims of abuse more than perpetrators and this continues to pain my soul.

“Taking on this production was more so to bring light to the kind of dialogues both men and women should be holding about GBV.”

‘Catch 22’ highlights the impact of domestic abuse
A scene from ‘Catch 22’. Picture: Nqobile Hlekwayo-Xulu.

Hlekwayo-Xulu added that the creative space such as the arts and theatre continued to play a crucial role in addressing important issues at the forefront of the public, reaching out to the communities and effecting change.

“GBV impacts the lives of one in three women worldwide… domestic violence being the most common type of GBV, impacting one in four women. How do we bring this to an end? Until this is brought home, we will never see the need to actively fight to stop it.”

The play also explores issues of mental health.

“When we speak about GBV we often focus on what the world can see. Abuse is not only physical, but this is also something we need to consider in our fight to end GBV.

“Then there is inequitable gender norms. How a man is raised as a young boy has an impact on who he becomes. Mothers should learn the importance of giving that ‘young boy a broom’ to teach him how to do it for himself.

“What was deemed as funny and okay when they were younger is what makes them the men they are today.

“It was important for us to tackle these topics because until we break down how we got to this pandemic, then we might never find a cure.

“Many of the victims of GBV stay in these abusive relationships because the perpetrators know how to play their roles well, they were raised to be entitled and so, no one questions their upbringing.”

‘Catch 22’ highlights the impact of domestic abuse
A scene from 'Catch 22'. Picture: Nqobile Hlekwayo-Xulu

Hlekwayo-Xulu explained that although “Catch 22” tackles serious topics, it is also entertaining and very engaging

“This was important because the audience needs to be able to relate to what they are seeing, so they too can talk about GBV and femicide after the play.”

“Catch 22” will be staged at the Joburg Theatre from December 1-10.

Tickets are available at Webtickets from R80.

‘Catch 22’ highlights the impact of domestic abuse
A scene from Sullied. Picture: Thobeka Shoba – SAST Photography



Where: The Market Theatre

When: Current until December 11.

“Sullied” explores the themes of religion, body politics, racism, gender, sexuality, rape culture and toxic masculinity in a politically charged country led by powerful male politicians.

Rich in complex themes and how they feed into each other with roots in our daily lives, “Sullied” examines the psychological effects of patriarchal ideologies and misogyny.

The piece focuses heavily on the concept of cleansing. Rather than washing away tangible dirt, it confronts the idea of washing away the dirt trapped away in our subconscious because of fear, emotional trauma and ingrained social norms around women’s identity.

‘Catch 22’ highlights the impact of domestic abuse
A scene from ‘He Had It Coming’. Picture: Newton James


He Had It Coming

Where: The Baxter

When: Current until December 10

“He had it Coming” picks up on themes in contemporary South African discourse – particularly around issues related to patriarchy and seeks to provide commentary mostly in a satirical form, inviting laughter as much as critical reflection.

“This show should be seen by all South Africans” was a regular line in the written feedback from audiences after it premiered in 2019 with its national tour cut short by the Covid-19 pandemic lockdowns.

Now, with a fresh talent directed by someone who has “been there, done that”, “He Had it Coming” is set to provoke, entertain and inspire yet again.

‘Catch 22’ highlights the impact of domestic abuse
Mbongeni Ngema with guitarist Matshitshi Ngema. Picture: Supplied


Mbongeni in Concert

Where: The Playhouse Company

When: December 10

SA’s cultural icon is sure to pull the crowds in this celebration of Mbaqanga music, featuring the best of Ngema’s chart-topping numbers from the legendary Sarafina soundtrack, as well as many of the maestro’s mega hits from his prolific back catalogue.

This live extravaganza comprises a powerhouse line-up of musicians, singers and dancers with Ngema himself as the lead artist.

Original Article

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