Die Rebellie van Lafras Verwey

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Die Rebellie van Lafras Verwey ("The Rebellion of Lafras Verwey") is an Afrikaans radio and stage drama by Chris Barnard (1939-2015).

The original text

Originally written as a compelling and popular radio drama, the play tells the story of a South African version of a Walter Mitty type figure, with tragic overtones.

The radio play was awarded the SABC/Belgian Radio and Television Prize in 1970 and was first broadcast by the SABC in 1970. The text was first published by Tafelberg in 1971.

The play was awarded the Suid-Afrikaanse Akademie vir Wetenskap en Kuns prize in 1973 as well as the Idem Prize for the best text in the period 1970-1980.

Translations and adaptations

Adapted for the stage by the author in 1972, the play went on to become a popular and highly regarded stage play as well, the role of "Lafras" being played by major South African actors over the years.

The text has also been translated into Flemish, Dutch, English and Italian, and has been broadcast by several European radio stations.

Performance history in South Africa

1972: Staged by PACOFS, directed by Gerrit Geertsema, starring Henk Hugo, Anton Welman and Trudie Taljaard.

1975: Staged by PACT, directed by Louis van Niekerk, with Tobie Cronje (Lafras), Annette Engelbrecht (Petra), Jan Engelen (Agent), Johan Malherbe (Smit & Sersant), Zack du Plessis (Klerk A), Cobus Visser (Klerk B), Gerben Kamper (Klerk C & Hennie), Harriet Pienaar (Dame), George Ballot (Man), Magda Beukes (Suster), Don Lamprecht (Karnavalbaas) and Andre Laubscher (Konstabel). Decor and costumes by Chris van den Berg.

1992: KRUIK Toneel produced an award-winning version of the play opening 7 May at the Nico Arena with Marthinus Basson as Lafras, George Ballot (Vaatjie), Francois Coertze, Neels Coetzee, Gys de Villiers, Mary Dreyer, Jan Ellis, Isabella Mostert, Taniya van der Merwe. Directed by Jannie Gildenhuys. Designs by Marthinus Basson, lighting design by Malcolm Hurrell, musical direction by Charl-Johan Lingenfelder.

2012: Staged by The Mechanicals at the Woordfees 2012, first in the Baxter Theatre in Cape Town and then in the Little Libertas Theatre in Stellenbosch, directed by Albert Maritz, with Stian Bam, Tinarie van Wyk-Loots, Carel Nel, Nandi Horak, Wilhelm van der Walt, De Klerk Oelofse and Noxolo Bodlani. The same production was staged at the KKNK in 2013.


PACOFS Drama 25 Years, 1963-1988.

PACT theatre programme, 1975.

Theatre programme, 1992.

Copy of a catalogue (handwritten by various hands) of the F.C.L. Bosman collection held at the Nasionale Afrikaanse Letterkunde Museum en Navorsingsentrum (NALN) in Bloemfontein.

Senekal, Jan and Van Aswegen, Karien (eds.). 1980. Bronne by die Studie van Afrikaanse Dramas 1900-1978. Johannesburg: Perskor

KKNK programme, 29 March-6 April 2013.

Go to ESAT Bibliography

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