Min­is­ter, an­swer the ques­tion

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - COMMENT -

COULD the min­is­ter of higher ed­u­ca­tion pro­vide a model an­swer to this week’s ma­tric dra­matic arts the­ory pa­per ques­tion 11? Four marks are avail­able to the learner who can de­scribe how s/he would ask the ac­tor (us­ing a broom­stick and a loaf of bread), to por­tray the horror of a baby be­ing raped. This is a tough choice for the av­er­age ma­tric­u­lant – does one get four marks for schlock-horror style stage di­rec­tions, or go min­i­mal­ist?

Will the learner get a mark for de­scrib­ing how they would get the ac­tor to use pumper­nickel bread as op­posed to white; choose a bro­ken or in­tact broom­stick; sali­vate on the loaf of bread; mas­tur­bate on it; poke the broom­stick into the bread; bite off chunks and ex­press how healthy the loaf of bread is; of­fer the loaf around to the au­di­ence, or ask if they’ve ever tried this; chop up the bread af­ter pok­ing it and throw it to the au­di­ence?

Any four of the above? Any other de­praved, grotesque and sadis­tic vi­su­al­i­sa­tion of rap­ing a baby that the mind of a ma­tric learner can concoct, like a scene from Apoc­a­lypse Now?

What ex­pres­sion of the­o­ret­i­cal knowl­edge or di­rect­ing abil­ity could pos­si­bly be tested and set out in an ex­am­in­ers’ rubric to earn full marks for such a ques­tion? Yes, the ques­tion was con­tex­tu­alised in Lara Foot Newton’s play Tshepang, but what of the ma­tric learner who has her­self been raped, fac­ing such a ques­tion? Yes, they may have stud­ied the play in class, but wouldn’t she just want to burst into tears in the mid­dle of the exam, hav­ing to write out stage di­rec­tions? Is this just stu­pid­ity, in­sen­si­tiv­ity, or both? Has the ed­u­ca­tion depart­ment be­come so de- sen­si­tised by vi­o­lence that it needed to trawl the evil thoughts of its staff for some­thing to tit­il­late the exam mark­ers and keep them from nod­ding off ?

Min­is­ter, for four marks, your thoughts on the con­di­tion­ing of chil­dren and the ob­jec­ti­fi­ca­tion of baby rape.

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