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Welcome to the


The online, open access digital reference work.


About ESAT

ESAT is a Wiki-based, online, open access encyclopaedia, currently being edited by Temple Hauptfleisch (founder, editor and project director), with Freddy Ogterop, Johann van Heerden and Miriam Terblanche as assistant editors. Hosted by Stellenbosch University

Conceived in the early 1980s and registered as a research project in 1994 by Temple Hauptfleisch, it was originally intended for publication in printed book format (see COMSAT). However in 2008 the switch was made to the current digital, online publication, which was opened up for public access and use in late 2011. The resulting open-access reference work is the result of a national research programme, involving a large number of voluntary writers, researcher, editors and technical supporters over more than 15 years.

For more information about specific aspects of ESAT, click on the appropriate link below:

  1. Aims, organizational structure
  2. Background, origins and history of ESAT
  3. Basic principles in editing and using ESAT

You can also consult the entry on the Encyclopaedia of South African Theatre, Film, Media and Performance in the encylopaedia itself.

How to use ESAT

While ESAT uses the Wiki programme, which makes provision for a very useful search function, the database has avoided contemporary multi-screen web-design, and has been constructed rather more traditionally, like a printed encyclopaedia, with an index to the various entries (called The ESAT Entries). The entries in the index have been grouped in fifteen distinct categories, each one managed and edited by one of the research editors.

Important notes for everyone using ESAT

  1. The focus is on pre-21st century theatre, film, media and performance
  2. It is work in progress

Accessing the database of entries

To access database material on the relevant category, the reader has two options:

Using the Search function

Go to the Search block at the top right of this page (or type: Alt+F) and type in the search word/phrase.

Using the Index

Go to the Index (below) and click on the appropriate link in the list of 15 categories of entries, then follow instructions on the landing page.

Index to ESAT entries

The ESAT entries have been grouped in fifteen categories in this index, each category managed and edited by one of the research editors. To access database material on the relevant category, click on the appropriate link below.

  1. South African Theatre and Performance/Overview
  2. South African Film/Overview
  3. South African Media/Overview
  4. The South African Context/General Terminology and Thematic Entries
  5. South African Theatre/Terminology and Thematic Entries
  6. South African Film /Terminology and Thematic Entries
  7. South African Media/Terminology and Thematic Entries
  8. South African Personalities
  9. South African Venues, Companies, Societies, etc
  10. South_African_Films
  11. South African Stage Plays
  12. South African Radio Plays and Serials
  13. South African Television Plays and Series
  14. A Chronology of South African Theatre, Film, Media and Performance
  15. A Bibliography of South African South African Theatre, Film, Media and Performance

An invitation to contribute to ESAT

Submitting contributions, suggestions and corrections to ESAT

All researchers, artists and other interested parties are invited to help us to expand, improve, update and correct ESAT, since by its very nature, the database will always be incomplete and prone to error on occasion. (See further discussion of this point in Updating ESAT.) Any information, contributions, relevant comments, material or information can be sent to the following address.

If you wish to send whole entries, you may wish to do so using the ESAT Templates explained below as a guideline.

The ESAT address

The Editor: ESAT, Department of Drama, University of Stellenbosch, Private Bag X1, MATIELAND 7602, South Africa.

E-mail address:

Fax number: (+ 27) 21 882 9141

The ESAT Templates

We have devised the following templates for the varous categories in the encylopaedia (see next section), and we invite you to use them when preparing material to submit to us. To find the appropriate ESAT Template for your purposes, click on the category below:

  1. Film ESAT Template
  2. Personalities ESAT Template
  3. Radio Plays & series ESAT Template
  4. Stage Plays ESAT Template
  5. Themes and definitions ESAT Template
  6. TV Drama & series ESAT Template
  7. Venues, Companies, Institutions etc ESAT Template

Please use the headings outlined in the appropriate category to write up your entry/entries for inclusion in ESAT. Do so in a Word document, and then mail it back to us as an e-mail attachment, or in a letter to the address given above, and we will upload it onto the website.

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