Maishe Maponya (1951-). Playwright, poet, lecturer, actor and director.
He is a Leeds University masters graduate in Theatre Studies.
The son of a painter in Alexandra township, and when he was 11, they were forcibly removed to Diepkloof under the Apartheid laws. He became an insurance clerk and began writing for the theatre in 1975.
He became a lecturer at the University of the Witwatersrand Drama Department in 199*.
In 2001 he was appointed Director of Arts and Culture, with the Department of Arts, Culture, Technology and Science.
Contribution to SA theatre, film, media and/or performance
Founded the Bahumutsi Drama Group of Soweto, writing and producing his plays for them.
He writes serious political theatre, and calls his plays “theatre of the dispossessed”, believing that theatre is one of the most dynamic ways of raising the consciousness of Black people in South Africa.
His plays include The Cry (1975), Peace and Forgive (1977), The Hungry Earth (written and produced 1979, pub 1981, 1984), Umongikazi (The Nurse) (1982), Dirty Work (1984, pub 1995), Gangsters (perf 1984, pub 1986), Busang Meropa (1986) and Return the Drum (19**), Jika.
During the 1980s the plays were also performed at the Market Theatre, and in 1983 The Hungry Earth played at the National Theatre in London as a platform performance (directed by Ian Steadman), and subsequently toured Britain and Germany along with Umongikazi. Harrassed and intimidated by security police during the Apartheid years, he was refused a passport in 1984 to accompany his plays abroad.
In 19** he was awarded a British Council scholarship and visited Britain to observe theatre, including a visit to the Edinburgh Festival.
Gosher, 1988; Steadman, 19**, Hauptfleisch and Steadman, 1994, Kruger, 1997, et al
New Nation, 25-31 May 1990.
Various entries in the NELM catalogue.
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