Cecil Williams (1906-1979). A school teacher by profession, also directed plays.
He was a political activist and a member of the Communist Party. His role in underground political activities during the 1950s and 1960s in South Africa is described in Greta Schiller's documentary film The Man Who Drove With Mandela (he was a passenger in the car when Nelson Mandela was arrested near Pietermaritzburg) shown at the Berlin Film festival in 1999. He was forced into permanent exile in 1962 and died in London in 1979.
Contribution to SA theatre, film, media and/or performance
He directed production by the Johannesburg Repertory Players, producer Cecil Williams, at the Reps Theatre, from 5 to 20 February 1954, with Ruth Hooper and Cecily Langston in the cast and Anthony Farmer as stage director, The Tempest for the Johannesburg Repertory Society in 1954.
He failed to draw audiences with Jean-Paul Sartre’s double bill, The Vicious Circle and The Respectable Prostitute at the Library Theatre in 1957. Towards the end of the same year, Cecil brought out British actor David Kossoff to star in The World of Sholom Aleichem.
Obituary, The Star, 10 May 1979.
Insig (re political activities), October 1999.
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