The life of South African anti-apartheid stalwart Imam Abdullah Haron will be brought to the stage this week as part of the 50th year commemoration of his death. Ashaheed Imam Haron was incarcerated on 28 May 1969 by the apartheid security branch, under the Terrorism Act 83 of 1967, for actively working to bring about the demise of that regime. He was tortured for 123 days until finally being martyred on 27 September 1969.
The play, ‘Danger to the state’, depicts the key events leading up to and culminating in his murder at the hands of the apartheid regime. It further brings to light the principled manner in which the Imam chose to live as well as to die. The Imam ultimately sacrificed his life so that others may live in a society that embraces all who live in it, regardless of any labels people choose to impose on others.
Cape Town actor and singer Shadley Schreuder plays the imam, Zaib Vlotman plays Haji Galiema, the wife of Imam Haron and Imam Ayaan Abrahams plays the notorious security police officer Spyker van Wyk. The production is the brainchild of the Qibla movement and comes 25 years after it was first staged. The production team, under director Toyer Nakerdien, believe bringing imam’s Harons life story back to the stage is significant in the current political context.
“The story of Imam Haron…the great sacrifices he made and the price he paid, must be told to our youth,” says producer Mogamat De Vries.
For the producers, reducing Imam Haron’s vast life to a mere two hours on stage was a difficult task. Some critical areas that will be focused on was his work in the masajid and his passion for his community.
“If you speak to young people and ask what they know about Imam Haron, they will refer to the road in Lansdowne. That is sad,” says Abrahams.
“Imam Haron was a man who lived what he believed in. He truly lived a life of purpose.”
Playing the role of Imam Haron was an immense “journey”, said Schreuder.
“Alhamdullilah, playing this character required tremendous depth. I literally had tears in my eyes when we acted one particular scene. The torture scene and trying to imagine what Imam Haron had gone through, it took a lot out of me,” he relates.
Vlotman says she hopes to pay tribute to the strength, fortitude and resilience displayed by Haji Galiema was through her husband’s trials and tribulations. Haji Galiema was left to fend for herself and her three children after the imam’s demise, with very little support from the Muslim community. At the age of 93 years old and 25 years after democracy, she has still not received justice for her husband’s murder.
“To still carry herself and her family through daily life and have that strength…it’s been an emotional journey to bring this across,” says the newbie actress.
The play takes place at the Joseph Stone auditorium from 27th September until the 5th October 2019. Tickets cost R130.
For ticket information, contact Faatimah: 064 245 8359