Dead End

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The title Dead End can refer to one of two plays known in South Africa.

Dead End: a play by Jean-Paul Sartre (1905-1980)

This is one of a number of titles used for the English translation of the 1944 French existential play Huis Clos by Sartre. It does not seem to have been performed under this title in South Africa to date.

Dead End: a one act play by Zakes Mda (1948-)

The original text

This was the first play Mda wrote, as a schoolboy. A metaphorical discussion between a young murderer and God. First published in the collection We Shall Sing for the Fatherland and Other Plays, Ravan Press, 1980. Also published in The Plays of Zakes Mda by Ravan, 1990.

Translations and adaptations

Performance history in South Africa

1979: First performed as double bill with We Shall Sing for the Fatherland directed by Benjy Francis for the FUBA (the Federated Union of Black Artists), at the Diepkloof Hall in Soweto, 1979 with the following cast: Nomhle Nkonyeni, James Mthoba and Richard Ngemane;

1979: Directed by Nicholas Ellenbogen at the Market Theatre the same year with Nkonyeni, Ngemane and Timmy Kwebulana in the cast.


Zakes Mda. 1980. We Shall Sing for the Fatherland and Other Plays, Johannesburg: Ravan Press.

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