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Wednesday, October 12, 2011


(Pic by Val Adamson: Thandanani Qwabe, Philani Muthwa, Sifanelesibonge Mtshali and Thobile Mwelase)

Created and directed by Thomas Mpoeleng, Dawn of the Cockroach is running at the Courtyard Theatre for another few days. It is performed by students from the Durban University of Technology’s Department of Drama Studies.

A tribute to the Rwandan genocide victims of 1994, it offers a view on the horrors of one of the world’s swiftest genocides.

On April 6, 1994, the plane carrying President Habyarimana and the President of Burundi was shot down as it prepared to land at Kigali. Both presidents were killed, igniting a long-planned and well-coordinated holocaust.

As though the shooting down was a signal, Hutu extremists, led by the Rwandan Army and radical Hutu militias, mobilized the majority Hutu population against the Tutsi minority and political moderates. They forced a stark choice on the majority Hutu population: kill the Tutsis, or be killed yourselves. By April 11, after barely five days, the Rwandan army, Hutu extremists and militias had killed 20,000 people. In less than four months, between April 6 and the beginning of July, a genocide of unprecedented swiftness left up to 1 million Tutsis and moderate Hutus dead. All the great powers that possessed the political and military strength to organize and lead a rapid military intervention to stop the slaughter did nothing.

Dawn of the Cockroach runs for an hour and can be seen until October 15 at 19h00 at Durban University of Technology’s Courtyard Theatre in Mansfield Road. Tickets R15 booked through Lebohang Sibisi on 031 373 2194.