(1947-) Author, actor, critic, editor, publisher and writer.
Daniel Stephanus "Danie" Botha was born near De Doorns in the Western Cape. He matriculated in 1964 from Worcester Boys' High School.
From 1967 to 1970 he studied at the University of Stellenbosch and received a BA Honours degree in Afrikaans and Dutch. He was a member of D.J. Opperman's Letterkundige Laboratorium ("Literary Laboratory") and also served on the editorial team of the Die Matie, the student newspaper, alongside people such Fanie Oliver and Etienne Britz. He and Fanie Olivier co-founded the literary magazine Penseel in 1970.
Career in publishing
In 1966, before going to University, he started working in the Central Research Department at the Cape Provincial Library in Cape Town.
After completing his university studies he worked as Afrikaans book selector at the Cape Provincial Library Service, and in August 1972 he joined Tafelberg Publishers as fiction editor. For a while he also headed the children’s books department during his time at Tafelberg. In the 1980s he moved back to fiction as senior editor, where he remained up to his retirement in 2000. In this time he managed all literary genres and specialised in literary criticism, author biographies, anthologies, dramas, short stories and gay literature. On his retirement he continued as a free-lance editor, editing various genres, but now for a variety of publishing houses.
As an author he has produced a number of books, among them a collection of his own short-stories, Die Soft Rock Klub ("The Soft Rock Club"), and a few collections of writing by others, including Die beste spookstories van C.J. Langenhoven (1992), Op 'n hoë noot: die lekkerste stories van P.H. Nortje (2008) and Tien uit tien: stories en sêgoeters van Fanus Rautenbach (2010).
Contribution to South African Theatre
In his capacity as publisher/editor, he not only published the dramatic works of well-known Afrikaans dramatists such Pieter Fourie, Adam Small, Chris Barnard, P.G. du Plessis, Hennie Aucamp, Charles J. Fourie, and Deon Opperman, but also published translations of Chekhov, and a collection of radio dramas called Hoorspelkeur.
Actor and director
His practical theatre involvement included a great deal of acting for the amateur stage (with a few professional appearances, e.g. in the 1970s he appeared at the Space Theatre in Wilma Stockenström's Die Laaste Middagmaal).
In 1975 he was one of the co-founders of the Akademiespelers, a amateur theatrical society for students and alumni of the ADK. He was also a member of BAT (the Bellville Afrikaanse Toneelvereniging, later renamed the Bellville Amateur Toneelgeselskap), for whom he acted on occasion and directed a range of plays.
From 1978 onwards he did quite a bit of radio work, including roles in Springbok Radio soaps, interviews with authors and actors for Radio Sonder Grense, adaptations of works by Dalene Matthee en C.J. Langenhoven for Radioteater (Radio Theatre), and compiling and presenting poetry programmes for Margot Luyt. He was also on occasions a judge for radio drama competitons Between 2004 and January 2013 he also did broadcasting for community radio.
Theatre critic and Fleur du Cap judge
Later became a part-time theatre critic for Die Burger , specializing in student and amateur theatre. From 1986 onwards he also wrote a large number of articles on theatre personalities and authors, and reviewed playtexts, biographies and autobiographies of performers. This association ended when the newspaper dropped its coverage of schools and amateur theatre, and from 2008 onwards Botha did free reviews for the website of the Masque Theatre in Muizenberg, and since 2013 for LitNet.
He was a member of the judges panel for the Fleur du Cap Awards for many years.
Books on theatre
In 2006 he published a valuable book of theatrical anecdotes on early South African Afrikaans theatre, entitled Voetligte & Applous!: Die beginjare van die Afrikaanse beroepstoneel (Protea Boekhuis). In July 2014 Die Helder Dae ("The Clear Days") was published by Tafelberg-Uitgewers, containing autobiographical stories, columns and essays about writers, actors, critics, etc.
In 2011 he was honoured by the ATKV for his contribution to drama and his work in publishing.
E-mail correspondence with Danie Botha 2 January, 2014, 23 October 2014, .
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