The Department of Basic Education defended a controversial question in Monday’s Dramatic Arts paper involving the rape of a 9-month-old baby, but said if there is evidence that candidates have been affected by this question, the question would be excluded.
The department’s internal moderator for dramatic arts said the question was reasonable and expected pupils to understand how lighting, sound and props can maximise emotion on stage. The goal was to highlight the horror of rape, not condone it.
According to the department the examiners and moderators responsible for the question were within the prescripts of the curriculum but “if there is evidence that candidates have been affected by this question, the question will be excluded and the marking guidelines will be adjusted accordingly.”
The question, based on an extract from the South African play Tshepang, which was inspired by the rape of a nine-month-old baby, was: ” Describe how you will get the actor portraying Simon (a rapist) to perform this act to maximise the horror of rape to the audience.”
The extract focuses on a scene in which the character of Simon acts out the rape of a baby using a loaf of bread and a broomstick.
The department said exam candidates were not expected to describe the actual act of raping a nine-month-old baby but to depict it “theatrically and symbolically”.