The Border Game (Working Title)
At the beginning of this residency programme, I set out with an aim to create a play for a young audience that was to be titled, This Is Not My Border, which was intended to look at migration within Africa. Specifically, I was interested in problematising how colonial borders continue to divide Africa. I found this inquiry to be important because as a South African I am still witnessing how these borders are being used to justify and perpetrate an afro/xenophobic rhetoric and violence within our society. To challenge this narrative, I sought to develop a piece that would attempt to (re)imagine what a post-post-colonial African continent would look like without colonial borders. I wanted to explore both the – real and imagined – borders within the continent, and to experiment with this decolonial imagination of how or what might replace them. The result of this experimentation was that I walked away from the residency not with a play, but a game. The game takes as its starting premise, a seemingly, simple question: where are Africans allowed to go – visa free – on their own continent? The result is a game that animates these colonial and post-colonial borders that divide Africa and allows the players to experience how the borders limit their movements on the continent. After playing the game, the players are invited to discuss and (re)imagine, 1) what a post-post-colonial Africa should look like, 2) and how Africans should be allowed to move in it.
Eliot Moleba is a researcher, playwright, and artivist. He is one of the founding members of PlayRiot, a collective of playwrights committed to telling bold, contemporary South African stories. His work explores socio-political issues and how they (re)shape young people’s lives. He was the resident dramaturg at The South African State Theatre. He is currently a Research Fellow at The Oslo National Academy of the Arts, and also serves as an Editorial Committee member of VIS – The Nordic Journal for Artistic Research. His notable works include Sizwe Banzi is Alive, The Man In The Green Jacket, The Orphan of Gaza, among others. He was one of the contributing authors in the book project, I Want to go Home forever, which was a collection of short stories by people who have been affected by xenophobic violence in and around Johannesburg. His story in the book became the subject of an investigative project, which resulted in a long form written piece and a 6-part podcast series called One Night In Snake Park. One of his long-term projects is to produce a 10-part series of artistic productions under the theme “The War You Don’t See”, looking at how global conflicts and (forced) migration affect children and young people’s lives. To date he has completed 5 parts of the series and working on the 6th part called The Border Game.