Shows S

to fire, and the students run away, throwing anything they can find at him. He begins shooting and some of the students fall dead in a heap. At the funeral for their dead classmates the students sing a dirge. A priest delivers a eulogy: "God has given...and the police, they have taken. What has happened to these children is not the unusual." Stimela leads the others in a protest chant. And as they lower the coffins into graves, the students cry out, "Afunani Amaphoyisa eSoweto" ("What are the police doing in Soweto?"): —and a declaration of their determination to make a change. After an exhuberant entr'acte by the band, Act II opens with an announcement that the students are organising a protest against the declaration of a State of Emergency Like their predecessors in 1976, these children are prepared to battle for their rights. At school the next day, Mistress asks the students what they want to present at the annual end-of-school-year show. They decide to do a musical production, which will end with a song about Nelson Mandela coming home from prison, meeting people on the Day of Liberation. Of course, all of the students want to play Mandela, but in the end Sarafina wins the part, as she has proven her commitment to the struggle against apartheid more than anyone else in the class. Sarafina tells them about her childhood idol, Victoria Mxenge, a black lawyer and activist. (Mxenge's story, like many of the stories in Sarafina!, is not fictional.) Sarafina tells how Mxenge won a court case for a black woman who had been raped by a white man. Normally, the white man might have been acquitted, but Mxenge cleverly won the case by pointing out that South Africa's Immorality Act prohibits a white man from making love to a black woman. Sarafina acts out the rape scene as the other students echo the voice of the white man who scornfully demands of the black woman, "Why do you turn me down, girl, when you are so emaciated that you're not worth looking at?" Mxenge's final case was a treason trial; one night, when she was returning from the courthouse, while her children watched helplessly from inside the house, she was murdered outside her home by four white men bearing axes, a bush knife and a gun. Remembering Mxenge's brutal death, Sarafina screams out in horror— "Mama, Mama, Mama...". The others try to console her Days later, some students gather on the street to gossip about the latest arrests. Policemen approach and chase the students, beating them with clubs and throwing them on a police van with other students who have been picked up for detention. In prison the children cry, "The black nation is being killed, the African nation is dying. Won't somebody please intercede on our behalf to stop this killing?" Colgate reflects that those days "went down bitter and sore in the presence of the army and the police, not only in our schoolyard but right inside our classrooms. Those were the days of anger, of panic and fear, the days when our brothers and sisters disappeared into the police cells. Others came back and others never came back." Finally, it is the end of the school year. At the school show, Mistress appears onstage to introduce her students' concert, but first she has a few words of her own. The next song addresses the issue that started all the student protests in 1976. They sing, "There is no subject in the world that is as impossible for a black child to learn as the language of Afrikaans. Not history, not biology, it's Afrikaans." The show ends with a celebration of the day the children all dream of, when their beloved leader is released from prison. Sarafina, playing the part of Mandela, delivers the speech that she imagines Mandela will give upon his release:"My people, today I am free. We were released from prison, because you never forgot us. You constantly demanded our release and carried on the struggle. We are here today not to revenge or destroy but to build the future ... where all of us, black and white, can come together and forget the past and work to liberate our land. We should remember that it is only when South Africa is free that all of Africa can be free!" Cheers and screams break out, and the students sing, stronger than ever, a reprise of Freedom Is Coming Tomorrow!