ASKARI

You are a liberation movement fighting one of the most evil regimes ever. You know, with almost certainty, that once one of your freedom fighters has been captured he will be broken within 48 hours through the sheer horror and trauma of torture. You have not changed your plans within the 48 hours and more are captured or killed or your plans disrupted. Has your member sold out? Is he a collaborator? Are you complicit?  What about the others, the ones who refuse to succumb are tortured to death and buried in an unmarked shallow grave? And the ones that have been “tamed” now have to show some degree of enthusiasm in serving their new masters or else they will return to the torture chamber. Are they collaborators? How do you deal with them as a liberation movement? Rescue or assassinate them to save the struggle?

What about those you decide to quietly deal with because revealing that they are spies will do more harm than good to the struggle. What about justice for the families of the victims? What is justice? What is liberation?

Jacob Dlamini raises important and disturbing questions using this story to study mistrust, betrayal and collaboration in the theatre of struggle taking us to Latin America but concentrating on South Africa. It will challenge everything you take for granted and you will have an internal debate between your instinctive revulsion for collaborators and the shattering reality of the power of torture. What would you have done?

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By Albert Gumbo

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