Hans die Skipper

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Hans die Skipper ("Hans the seaman or sea captain"), can refer to either a play or a film, both based on a renowned Afrikaans novel Hans-die-Skipper (1929) by D.F. Malherbe (1881-1969).

Not to be confused with Hans, the Boatman, a musical comedy in 3 acts by Clay M. Greene made famous by Charles Arnold. '

The original novel

A romanticised version of life in a small community of fishermen in a coastal Western Cape village, the novel tells of the conflict between the fisherman father Hans and his rebellious son. Written in Afrikaans, it was first published by Nasionale Pers as Hans-die-Skipper in 1929. As one of the first major novels in the new language, it was long considered one of the great Afrikaans novels and used as a prescribed work at school for many years.



A stage version of Hans die Skipper

The novel was adapted as a play in four acts by the author himself and published by Nasionale Pers in 1933 with the title Die Seeman: Hans-die-Skipper Gedramatiseer (usually referred to simply as Die Seeman). The title of the play is sometimes also referred to by the name of the novel - however written in more modern form as Hans die Skipper, i.e. without the hyphens.

Performance history in South Africa

1934/5? Produced by Hendrik Hanekom and his Toneelskool in Bloemfontein in 1934/5*? as Hans die Skipper.

1934: Produced by KAT under the title Die Seeman ("The Seaman") in November 1934, directed by P. Tack with Herman Steytler in the lead.

1935 to 1936(?): The Hanekom theatre school's production of Hans die Skipper was taken on a national tour under the auspices of the Reddingsdaadbond by a company now referred to as Die Hanekoms en Geselskap. The touring cast included Mathilde Hanekom, Antonius Ferreira, Hugo Sturm, Irma du Plessis and Jacques Lochner, besides Hendrik Hanekom himself as "Hans". In the publicity material[1] for their tour of the coastal regions of the Cape in 1936, the audiences were invited to "Listen to and Hear the Sea! Lightning. Thunder. A Foaming Sea and Howling Wind" ("Aanskou en Luister na die Storm op die See! Bliksemstrale. Donderslae. 'n Bruisende See en Huilende Wind!").





DALRO list.

Stellenbosch University Library catalogue.

Nel, F.J. 1972. p.17 (K.A.T. production, 1934).

Typed list, E. Reyneke, 1978


J.C. Kannemeyer 1978. Geskiedenis van die Afrikaanse Literatuur I. Pretoria: Academica. (Second edition, 1984[2], pp. 162

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The radio drama Hans die Skipper

According to (undated) Hanekom publicity material[3], the play was broadcast on radio, possibly between the first performances of 1934 and the Hanekom tours of 1935/6 and later. It may have been either a recording of the Bloemfontein production, or a reading of the novel.



The film Hans die Skipper

In 1952 a famous Afrikaans film was made of it featuring André Huguenet in the title role, also starring Adapted from his novel by D.F. Malherbe, Johan Bouwer and Herbert Kretzmer, with a screenplay by Bladon Peake, the film was poduced by African Film Productions and directed by Bladon Peake. It featured André Huguenet as "Hans-die-Skipper", Albie van der Bijl, Wena Naudé, Gert van den Bergh, Leonie Ross, Willie Herbst, Elsa Fouché, Johan Eloff, Francis Coertze and Pieter Hauptfleisch (voice only - uncredited) .

Cinematography was by David Millin, film editing by Gerald Ehrlich, set and decor by Gordon Vorster, make-up by William Bell set construction by William van Reenen, sound by Edward Howes, camera operator John Brown and continuity by Dulsie Smit (Dulcie van den Bergh)

The film was released on 31 December 1952.




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