The death of acclaimed film critic Barry Ronge in early July was a jarring reminder to me of how he held our English 1 class at Wits University spellbound with his wit and articulacy 42 years ago. Ronge’s lecture topic back then was “the theatre of the absurd” — at the time very voguish with its mordant takes on the meaninglessness and absurdity of the human condition.

July 2022 in SA offers some updated contenders to add to this dramatic genre. President Cyril Ramaphosa could write and star in new scenes of Harold Pinter’s The Birthday Party with its endless pauses and silences. He cannot meet deadlines, either for the public protector’s probe into his Phala Phala burglary, nor for his much-touted — not quite sighted and of doubtful use — energy emergency plan. His social compact is missing in action, and his approach to governance appears to be that of a semi-interested bystander, punctuated by silence on both his criminal peril and keeping the lights on. Behind hidden hand ...

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