Cornelius Mabaso

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Cornelius Mabaso ("Corney") (1934-2009) was a South African stage, film and television actor and director.


Started working in theatre with Athol Fugard in The Rehearsal Room in Dorkay House, Johannesburg in the late 1950's.

He studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) [1] in London (1963-1965) after which he founded the Soweto Ensemble in Johannesburg in 1965. He was the resident director for the Phoenix Players from the group's inception in 1967.

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

He was one of the collaborators in the workshop led by Athol Fugard at Dorkay House to create No-Good Friday (1958), in which he played the role of “Guy”. He played "Estragon" in Waiting for Godot in 1962. In 196* he worked with Phoenix Players to produce the variety show Isintu (also known as Meropa or KwaZulu). In 1965 he founded the Soweto Ensemble and directed their first production, Shaka (1968).

He was artistic director Phoenix Players circa 1974. In the 1970s he and Zakes Mofokeng co-wrote The Train, which toured the country and was staged at The Space in 197*. In 1991 he did a version of Can Themba’s Baby, Come Duze (with Mothobi Mutloatse). He was artistic director Phoenix Players circa 1974.

Well-known for roles in popular television soap operas, such as Hamilton in the Zulu comedy series 'Sgudi 'Snaysi (SABC 1986-1992) and Ndosi in Ubambo Lwami. Roles in feature films include: Carlton in Dragonard (1987)The Old Man (as Cornie Mbasa) in The Kings's Messenger (1990), Meneer in Fools (1997).


Tucker, 1997. 297.

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