The world mourns one of its greatest heroes, Nelson Mandela. A true freedom fighter has ended his struggle but his legacy will forever be in the hearts of millions across the world. In Palestine, Mandela is known as a brother, a friend and an inspiration.
On Saturday December 7 and Sunday December 8, The Freedom Theatre will be paying tribute to Nelson Mandela by performing The Island in SÃ£o Paulo, Brazil, at the USP theatre festival. This South African play with its story of political prisoners was inspired by Nelson Mandelaâ€™s time incarcerated at Robben Island.
The Freedom Theatreâ€™s adaptation of The Island reflects the experiences of Palestinian political prisoners and the abuses within the Israeli prison system. The play also highlights the parallels between apartheid South Africa and Palestine today. The separation, the denial of basic human and political rights, the discrimination and oppression that is evident in countless aspects of daily life.
The Island is a testament to the importance of culture as a tool for resistance, and for humanity. "Despite the prisonersâ€™ circumstances their souls are thirsty and art is the water that keeps them alive. In Palestine, as in apartheid South Africa, we need to keep ourselves alive", says Faisal Abu Alheja, resident actor at The Freedom Theatre and actor in The Island, along with Ahmad Rokh.
The Freedom Theatre's performance of The Island tomorrow will be a message of resistance, for equality and for justice, and the necessity of freedom. Rest in peace, Madiba. Amandla!
The Island is supported by the Swedish Postcode Lottery and by Sida, as part of the PAN program. During 2013, the production has toured to Sweden, Brazil and the US.