Devi Bughwan

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Devi Bughwan (1926-) Actress, broadcaster, director, teacher and academic.



Born Devamonie (or Devi), the daughter of Boolasingh, Mayville Durban, went to school at St Aidan's Girls' School and Durban Girls' High School, matriculating at the age of 15.

Married the photographer Dennis Bughwan in 1949 and the couple had 3 children.


Trained at Fort Hare College, completing a BA degree with a distinction in English at 18 years of age, then became the first Indian woman to receive an MA degree in English in 1949 followed by a doctorate in Literature and Philosophy through UNISA in 1970, with a thesis on English linguistics (An Investigation Into the Use of English by the Indians in South Africa with Special Reference to Natal). Later also studied drama at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre after gaining a scholarship from the British Council and spent a sabbatical leave at Yale University's drama school.


Her first employment was as a teacher at Dartnell Crescent School She briefly lectured in English at the University of Natal in 1951, then became a teacher at Clairwood Indian High School. In 1959 became a part-time announcer of the SABC on the Indian radio programme, broadcast on Sunday mornings. Also helped her husband in his photographic studio. Her theatre career began as an active amateur actress, appearing in many prominent productions and from this came professional engagements. For instance, in 1961 she was chosen to play the role of "Rohini" in Krishna Shah's production of King of the Dark Chamber. Also at one time the secretary of the Film Society of the Durban International Club. In 1975, when the founding professor of Drama at the University of Durban-Westville Drama Department, David Horner, left for the University of the Witwatersrand, Bughwan succeeded him and became the first person of colour to be professor of drama in South Africa. Retiring in 1985, her post was taken over by Dennis Schauffer. In 1983 she was appointed to the Advisory Board of the SABC's television service.

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

Awards, etc


The South African Indian Who's Who 1960 [1]

Fiat Lux, September 1983, p.22

Muthal Naidoo, 1993

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