Melvin Whitebooi

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(1956–2011) Playwright, actor and journalist.

Born and grew up in the township Schauderville in Port Elizabeth, and completecd matric at the secondary school in Uitenhage. He then became a journalist working for newspapers like Die Burger, Rapport, and Die Son, and from there evolved into a prolific writer, mainly of prose and drama. His plays and short stories were commited political works, dealt with the visissitudes of life on the Cape Flats and work was committed to and conte.

He was married to Roseline and had two children, Siobhan and Aarika.

His contributions to theatre

Whitebooi began his theatrical career working with the Cape Flats Players in the 1980s, for which he wrote and performed in a number of performed but mostly unpublished Afrikaans plays. His first and perhaps best known play is Dit sal die blêrrie dag wies! [Also written: Dit sal die bleddie dag wees = "That’ll be the bloody day!"] which he wrote specifically for the Cape Flats Players. First performed at the Kellerprinz-Drama festival in 1982, it won first prize and was often performed thereafter. Others produced by the company include Dié kant dáái kant ("This side, that side" - 1984), Koffie en kondensmelk ("Coffee and Condensed Milk" - 1986), and Die Goodbye People (“The Goodbye People”, 1991).

He later also wrote the plays Die draadsitter (lit; The Fence sitter, 1991), ’n Woensdag in April (A Wednesday in April, 1995) and the radio drama Die reënmaker ("The Rainmaker", 1986). For television he was a scriptwriter for the TV series Die Allemans (1991) and a single TV drama Tot jy dood is ("Until you are dead", 1994).

Other writing

He wrote regular serials for Die Burger-Ekstra, including Smeltkroes van die liefde (1977), Miranda is haar naam (1978), Meisie van die see (1978), Angela se verhaal (1980), Jou dag sal jy kry (1980), Met bloed sal jy betaal (1982), Siener van die dood (1983), Nag van die Swart Arend (1983), Siener van die dood: die jare daarna (1984), Vrou agter die masker (1985), Rykmanshoogte (1985), Dogter van die duiwel (1985), Jy soek jou dood (1986) en Blou Bloed (1988). A number of his short stories have been published in collections.


Sources

See Smith, 1990; January, 1997

Tydskrif vir Letterkunde 49(1), 2012

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