Ezekiel Mphahlele, also known as Es'kia or Zeke (1919-2008). Poet, playwright, novelist, academic and cultural leader.
In 1957 he went into exile to live in Nigeria, Paris and Nairobi, Kenya (where he became a leading figure in the literary landscape in both East and West Africa. He then moved to the USA.
He died in October 2008 at the age of 89.
He lectured for a while at the University of Denver, before returning to South Africa in 1979 to become Professor of Comparative and African Literature at the University of the Witwatersrand.
Contribution to SA theatre, film, media and/or performance
Dramatised A Tale of Two Cities, which toured Transvaal.
As headmaster of Orlando High School in 1945, he introduced drama into the school. He later became director of the African Music and Drama Association (AMDA). Because blacks were prohibited from going to theatres or concert halls, he formed the Syndicate of African Artists, with the aim of exposing blacks to "serious" music and the arts.
His autobiography - Down Second Avenue (1959) - recounts his earlier life in South Africa.
(See De Beer, 1995; Gosher, 1988) [TH, JH]
The Star, 30 October 2008; 12 November 2008.
Go to ESAT Bibliography
Return to ESAT Personalities M
Return to South African Theatre Personalities
Return to The ESAT Entries
Return to Main Page