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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:'All work and no play makes civilisation unattractive to the masses': theatre and mission education at Mariannhill, 1900-1925
Author:Peterson, BhekizizweISNI
Year:1995
Periodical:African Studies
Volume:54
Issue:2
Pages:32-51
Language:English
Geographic term:South Africa
Subjects:missionary history
Christian education
folk drama
History and Exploration
Religion and Witchcraft
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Education and Oral Traditions
Architecture and the Arts
Link:https://doi.org/10.1080/00020189508707828
Abstract:The Reverend Father Bernard Huss is one of the earliest, and most influential, pioneers of the social and pedagogical uses of theatre in South Africa. Between 1915 and 1927 Huss was the Principal of St Francis College in Mariannhill, Natal, South Africa, where he promoted the use of theatre in education and recreational activities with Africans. This paper explores the recourse to theatre by the Mariannhill evangelists and the social significance of their interventions. It starts with a delineation of the intellectual traditions operative at the mission. Two areas are highlighted in this regard: the use of the vocabularies of narrative and drama to validate the idea that evangelism is a melodrama of sorts, and secondly how the struggle between Christian and heathen results in a proclivity towards ethnographic assumptions and practices. The final sections of the paper detail the social gospel preached by Huss and how, in response to the poverty and suffering caused by conquest and industrialization, Huss was predisposed to seeing theatre as a genre that could be used to facilitate social control amongst Africans. Notes, ref., sum.
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