My Child My Africa Questions and Answers pdf Guide: Harold Athol Lanigan Fugard is a South African playwright, director, actor, and novelist. He was born in the remote village of Middleburg and grew up in Port Elizabeth; His mother was Afrikaner and his father was from English, Irish and French Huguenot descent. His plays have political themes and are part of anti-apartheid ‘protest theatre’.
Table of Contents
My Child My Africa Book Summary
My Children! My Africa! was first performed on 27 June 1989, just before the end of apartheid. The play explores the rising tensions between Black people and the apartheid government, and more generally between Blacks and Whites near the end of apartheid.
There are three main characters in the play and all of them are thoughtful, clever and admirable, and each wins our love and our loyalty.
The play is set a year before the State of Emergency which took place from 1984 to 1989 in South Africa, (refer to p8 of My Children! My Africa!). 1984 -1990 was a period when freedom fighters such as Nelson Mandela and other leaders were still in prison. However, there were ongoing negotiations to end apartheid. The intensity of the struggle for freedom was at its height, the resistance to apartheid was starting to become violent.
Township schools were at the forefront of violent resistance to apartheid and Zolile High School was amongst those schools. Apartheid was about to end in South Africa and Fugard attacks the ANC’s decision to boycott schools and as a result initiate damage that would negatively affect generations of Africans. The play shows the suffering that Black South Africans went through during the apartheid era. It does this by telling the story of the friendship of two people – Isabel Dyson, a girl of 18 years from a White school (Camdeboo Girls High) and Thami Mbikwana, a 19 year old Black boy from a Black school (Zolile High).The third main character is Mr M, is a teacher from Zolile High school.
The meeting between Isabel and Thami occurs when Mr M organises an inter-school debate between Camdeboo and Zolile high schools. It is through Thami and Isabel’s relation that we come to understand the cruelty of apartheid and the violence of the struggle against Apartheid.
The play is also about Mr M’s ideology that education cannot be sacrificed for political gains. He is a proponent of education as the most powerful tool in the struggle for freedom and equality. ‘Thami feels constrained by the education system under apartheid, causing him to clash with his teacher Mr. M who has more traditional views about life in South Africa.’ (Cohen 24 March 2017).
By the end of the play, Mr M is killed, Thami goes into exile and Isabel makes a promise to the spirit of Mr. M that she will make her life useful.
“My Children! My Africa! was greatly influenced by Fugard’s own experience as a white person in South Africa during apartheid. Like Isabel, the white character in the play, Fugard grew up with black South Africans working for his family, and was affected by the way others saw his relationship specifically to a worker named Sam with whom he was close. As an adult, Fugard worked with a group of amateur black actors in a ghetto outside Johannesburg, which got him interested in doing activist theater specifically critiquing segregation.” Cohen, Madeline. “My
Children! My Africa! Study Guide”. GradeSaver, 24 March 2017 Web. 3 February 2020 The play was written at the time apartheid was ending. While Fugard disapproved of the injustices of the South African government, he was against the disruption of the education of the Black child.
Watch My Children! My Africa! by Athol Fugard (Act One of Two)
Popular Exam Questions and Answers
Read the following extract and answer the questions.
- Provide the setting of this extract.
- Mr M repeats his call of order three times.
- Why do you think it is necessary for Mr M to call order so many times?
- The play begins with a debate. Briefly explain how this came about.
- According to the stage direction, the bell is rung violently and then there is dead silence. Do you think this is dramatically effective? Give a reason for your answer.
Read the Act 1 Scene 2 and answer the following questions.
- Who is Miss Brockway?
- Explain why one must drive slowly on Brakwater roads.
- In Scene 2, the town of Camdeboo is contrasted with the Brakwater location. Use the table to compare the descriptions of Camdeboo and Brakwater in this Scene. Write at least two characteristics of each place.
- Number One Classroom made a special impression on Isabel.’ Was this impression positive or negative or both? Explain your answer.
- In your own words, explain what Isabel means when she says: it’s what I was made to believe was out there for me…..the ideas, the chances, the people…..specially the people!….all of that is only a fraction of what it could
View Answers on the Downloadable Guide
Contents of the Guide
- What happens and who is involved?
- Diction and figurative language
- Tone and mood
- Question and Answers ( activities from 1 – 10)
Downloadable Pdf Guide (with Questions and Answers)
More Questions and Answers
- What inspired the author to write the book “My Child, My Africa”? Answer: The author was inspired by his experiences growing up in apartheid South Africa and the powerful connection he felt to his African heritage and culture. He wanted to capture and share this connection with others, especially with future generations.
- What is the central theme of the book? Answer: The central theme of the book is the importance of understanding and embracing one’s African heritage and culture in the face of racial oppression and inequality.
- What role does the protagonist play in the story? Answer: The protagonist of the story is a young South African man who is struggling to reconcile his African heritage with the realities of apartheid South Africa. He is a symbol of the struggle of all Africans to assert their identity and cultural heritage in the face of oppression and racism.
- How does the protagonist’s relationship with his father change throughout the story? Answer: The protagonist’s relationship with his father changes dramatically throughout the story. At first, the protagonist is distant from his father, who is a stern and authoritarian figure. However, as the protagonist begins to embrace his African heritage and understand his father’s struggles, their relationship deepens and becomes more meaningful.
- What does the protagonist learn about himself and his heritage through the course of the story? Answer: Through the course of the story, the protagonist learns to embrace his African heritage and understand its importance to his identity and sense of self. He learns that his heritage is a source of strength and pride, despite the challenges and difficulties he faces as a result of apartheid.
- What role does music play in the story? Answer: Music is a central theme in the story, serving as a powerful symbol of the protagonist’s connection to his African heritage and culture. It is a source of comfort and inspiration for him, even in the darkest moments of apartheid.
- How does the protagonist’s relationship with his mother change throughout the story? Answer: The protagonist’s relationship with his mother changes dramatically throughout the story. At first, he is distant from her and feels that she does not understand his struggles. However, as he begins to embrace his African heritage and understand her struggles, their relationship deepens and becomes more meaningful.
- What role does the struggle against apartheid play in the story? Answer: The struggle against apartheid is a central theme in the story, serving as a backdrop to the protagonist’s personal journey of self-discovery and growth. The struggle against apartheid represents the larger struggle of all Africans to assert their identity and cultural heritage in the face of oppression and racism.
- How does the protagonist’s relationship with his friends change throughout the story? Answer: The protagonist’s relationship with his friends changes dramatically throughout the story. At first, he is distant from his friends and feels that they do not understand his struggles. However, as he begins to embrace his African heritage and understand their struggles, their relationship deepens and becomes more meaningful.
- What role does education play in the story? Answer: Education is a central theme in the story, representing the protagonist’s desire to understand and embrace his African heritage and culture. Through education, he learns about his heritage, its history, and its importance to his identity and sense of self.
- How does the protagonist’s relationship with his community change throughout the story? Answer: The protagonist’s relationship with his community changes dramatically throughout the story. At first, he is distant from his community and feels that they do not understand his struggles. However, as he begins to embrace his African heritage and understand the struggles of his community, his relationship with them deepens and becomes more meaningful.
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