William Modisane

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William Modisane (Bloke). (1924-1986) Actor, dramatist, journalist, broadcaster and writer.


Born in Sophiatown on 28 August 1923, he worked for Drum. He left South Africa for London in 1958 and was banned under the Suppression of Communism Act. His influential autobiography, Blame Me on History, was published in 1963, republished by AD Donker in 1986. He died in exile in Dortmund, West Germany on 1 March 1986.



Contribution to SA theatre, film, media and/or performance

He was one of the collaborators in the workshop led by Athol Fugard to create No-Good Friday which was staged at the Bantu Men's Social Centre in conjunction with the Union of South African Artists in 1958. Fugard himself also appeared in the play, together with Dan Poho, Steve Moloi, Ken Gampu, Gladys Sibisa and Zakes Mokae. This play was later transferred to the Brooke Theatre for a ‘whites only’ run. (1958).

He also starred in The Blood Knot (1959?*), both locally and overseas.***

In London he also performed in Genet’s The Blacks. He wrote plays for the BBC and West German radio. A musical play based on his autobiography (Bloke) was done by Mutloatse in 1994.

Awards, etc


Tucker, 1997. 119.

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