Who is Dulcie September?

As recently as May 2012 a South African newspaper headline read: “Who Killed Dulcie September”? The Cape Town born ANC activist (then the ANC’s chief representative in France) was assassinated in Paris, twenty-six years ago. Five bullets to the head ended the life of one of the anti-apartheid movement’s most ardent, most courageous fighters. “If there was ever a soft target, Dulcie was it,” said Alfred Nzo, the ANC’s secretary general for much of its exile period.

We still don’t know who killed Dulcie September.

Or why.

Was it a French mercenary?

Was one of the infamous South African death squads operating in Paris throughout the 1980s?

Was it because Dulcie knew too much about the nuclear military trade between South Africa and France?

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Our play, Cold Case: Revisiting Dulcie September does not attempt to solve the mystery. Instead, we offer brief sketches of her extraordinary life, stage questions about her death, and invite audiences to draw their own conclusions. We paint a portrait of woman who was both totally committed to her political convictions but still loved to loose herself in dancing, an activist who prized action over rhetoric, but remained unwaveringly loyal to her friends. An émigré who accepted the reality of exile, but continued to pine for home. We look at the young Dulcie’s determination to pursue education, to become a teacher. We map her growing politicization, the trauma of the five years she spent as political prisoner of the apartheid state, and finally, the alienation of being banned and then exiled.

Dulcie’s life was rich and beautiful. She was full of love for human beings and full of rage at systems that oppressed them. She lived and died by her convictions. She should be widely known and celebrated and we believe this performance will play a role in doing just that.

The play premiered at the 2014 National Arts Festival, Grahamstown, Eastern Cape, South Africa and is the winner of the Standard Bank Ovation Award (2014) and of an award named for wife of former ANC leader Oliver Tambo, the Adelaide Tambo Award for Celebrating Human Rights in the Arts. Here’s some video, made by Rhodes University students, of the Grahamstown premiere:

I did most of the research for the play and star in the leading role. The play is directed by Basil Appollis (credits: ) and is written by Sylvia Vollenhoven and Basil.

Help us bring Dulcie’s life, and her life’s work, to the stage.

We are crowd-funding and the end date is December 30th, 2014. Eight days from now. Please visit our site and claim a reward. For out-of-country funders, we have the “sponsor a student to the theatre” option, among other things.

Fund us here.

Denise Newman

Denise Newman is an award winning South African actress.

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