(1966-2013) Playwright and director born in Orlando East.
(Obituary in North Eastern Tribune, 04/06/2013): Bongani Linda, a no nonsense theatre master who wanted things done right the first time, died at his home in Newcastle, KwaZulu Natal on 28 April (2013) after a short illness. Born in Orlando East on 15 November 1966, Linda was accredited with the knack of discovering much of the country's finest theatre talent. Among the crop of acclaimed theatre stars that passed through his Victory Siyanqoba Theatre Company were the likes of Meshack Mavuso of Isidingo fame and Mduduzi Mabaso of Rhythm City. Mavuso said Linda first came to Alex in 1991. "It was at this very venue, the Thusong Youth Centre, where he first suggested the formation of a theatre company in order to take Alex theatre and its artists to a new pedestal," he said. "Victory Siyanqoba Theatre company was born a year later and most of us in the theatre industry today, both in Alex and Soweto, were raised by him. We are what we are because of his works of genius," Mavuso said. He added that they were considering putting on a production to celebrate the life and times of this great theatre icon. "Children from the Eastern Cape often frequented the Market Theatre in Johannesburg paid for by Linda. "He would fork out his own money to pay for their transport and book them accommodation," said Baba Ndevana of Nomonde Arts Company in the Eastern Cape, who came all the way to join her colleagues in Alexandra in celebrating the life of Linda. "Linda was a father figure to all of us in the theatre industry and he groomed and nurtured many people who today occupy the high echelons of the theatre industry," said Mabaso. "I would like to say to all those who have become successful as a result of Linda, to continue with his work and make Linda proud wherever he is," said Thusong Youth Centre director Beauty More, where Linda conducted his theatre lessons. Daughter Lebogang Linda described her dad as a mentor, father and caregiver, not just to his four girls but to all his extended family of theatre artists. (Sipho Siso)
Linda is a South African man whose girlfriend was gang raped and who subsequently committed suicide. Bongani, in his anger, confronted one of the rapists. "In that anger, I killed him. I was arrested." He was remanded in custody for about 24 months, during which time he started a theatre group to address men directly and help them understand that sexually assaulting women and children is not acceptable. When the trial eventually took place, Bongani was acquitted. http://www.themanwhostolemymothersface.com/characters/bongani/index.html
Graduate of Wits School of Drama.
Contribution to SA theatre, film, media and/or performance
Formed the Victory Sonqoba Theatre Company in 1993 with township residents and hostel dwellers in Alexandra township, many of them victims or perpetrators of violence. In creating training opportunities and offering professional employment the Company became part of the professional theatre community, and at the same time strove to improve the living conditions in Alex. Linda stated his objective in an interview, “This [the creation of the Company] was to encourage a culture of mutual respect and appreciation by providing an opportunity for members of my community to pursue the performing arts as an outlet for misdirected rage and anger” (Memela, 2000c). [Van Heerden (2008)]
Bongani Linda directed Peter Ngwenya's play The Toilet, starring Terry Pheto.
He wrote the play Skin Deep and directed a production of the play at the National Arts Festival in 2004.
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[Van Heerden (2008)]
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