‘No Doors Open’
Before describing this skit, I’d like to explain a bit about 2 of the actors—one a boy, the other a middle-aged man—whose homes I visited in the days before the workshop.
Archie is a bright 12-year-old boy. At the age of six he was jumping up and down on his mother’s bed, when he fell and landed on the floor and broke his back.
Archie lives with his mother and siblings in a well-kept cement-block house on the outskirts of the city of George. Despite his disability, Archie goes to school every day, where he is doing well. He dreams of studying to become a doctor.
Ebrahim is a middle-aged man who lives with his wife in a tiny, sheet-metal shack in a poor neighborhood of George, not far from Archie. Ebrahim is paraplegic from an accident in his youth. He has two wheel chairs, one manual and one electric, both donated by the government. It seems odd to see an expensive electric chair sitting outside their primitive shack—but such contradictions are typical in South Africa. Although his resources are limited, Ebrahim says he is happy. He has a quiet, philosophic dignity and takes pride in being (relatively) self-sufficient. Like many of the so-called “Colored” people, Ebrahim is a devout Muslim, and therefore doesn’t drink or use drugs. He is a gifted artist, somewhat in the style of Grandma Moses, and he sells his paintings for a living. He also makes ingenious rooftop antennae for houses. I was so impressed by one of his paintings, a colorful butterfly, that he gave it to me. In thanks, I have since sent him a set of prints of my own bird paintings.
Ebrahim and Archie both participate in the local APD center. Ebrahim has taken his fellow youthful wheelchair rider under his wing. He is a great role model for the boy, in many ways.
The skit that Archie and Ebrahim took part in presents the true story of an APD social worker and a mistreated child for whom she tried to find a new home. The story does not have a very happy ending because, in the real life situation it is based on, satisfactory living arrangements for the child portrayed in the skit have yet to be found.