David Coplan

Jump to navigation Jump to search

David Coplan. (19**-) Academic, author and musician.


Born in the USA, he arrived in South Africa in the early 1970s.



He has a B.A (Hons) from Williams College 1970; M.A. University of Ghana, 1974; M.A. Indiana University, 1976; Ph.D. Indiana University 1980.


He has carried out fieldwork in Lesotho, Swaziland, South Africa, Ghana, and the United States. Since 1998*? Professor and Chair of Social Anthropology at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa. He has also held visiting appointments at institutions as diverse as University of Basel, École des Hautes Études Sciences Sociales (Paris), Rice University, NYU, DePauw University, and the University of Cape Town. He acted as the Chief Researcher for the “Mobilising Culture and Heritage for Nation Building” in South Africa’s Arts and Culture Department and worked as an ethnographic research consultant for University of Pennsylvania Museum and International Library of African Music. Has received awards and grants from Fulbright-Hayes, SSRC, NEH, ACLS, Human Sciences Research Council, Wenner-Gren Foundation, the National Arts Council of South Africa, and the Ernest Oppenheimer Memorial Trust.

He is also the author of In the Time of Cannibals: Word Music of South Africa's Basotho Migrants, and editor of Lyrics of the Basotho Migrants.

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

Author of In Township Tonight! : South Africa’s Black City Music and Theatre! , a seminal ethnomusicological work and the first comprehensive study of South African black performance.

Awards, etc

Winner of the Herskovitz Award from the African Studies Association, In Township Tonight! is currently in its second edition.


Various entries in the NELM catalogue.


Go to ESAT Bibliography

Return to

Return to ESAT Personalities C

Return to South African Theatre Personalities

Return to The ESAT Entries

Return to Main Page |South African Theatre Personalities]]

Return to The ESAT Entries

Return to Main Page