The Great Race

John Kani in Nothing but the Truth
photo: Paul Kolnik

The play's the thing, but not the only thing. Three noted thinkers will use the set of South African Tony-winning actor and playwright John Kani's Nothing but the Truth to go beyond the play and talk about race and reconciliation, politics and culture, and other matters. Joining Kani in the January 12 symposium are Wole Soyinka, the Nobel Prize-winning Nigerian poet and playwright, and Henry Louis Gates Jr., chair of African and African American studies at Harvard. Kani's play, which wades into the strain and stress of post-apartheid South Africa, is a perfect starting point for this threesome. Sure to be dissected is the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, South Africa's unique attempt to come to terms with the poisonous apartheid era and try to heal. Soyinka, who was hounded into exile because of his opposition to various Nigerian military dictatorships, once was a professor of Gates's at Cambridge. Eavesdropping on this conversation ought to be enlightening.

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