Gift Buqa

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Gift Buqa (real name Nanana Amos Buqa)

(Born: June 6, 1959 - Died: 25 July 2014.) Stage and TV actor, director and playwright.


Born in Gqebera Township, Port Elizabeth. He completed his high school diploma at Precious Makwabe Night School after the end of White minority rule. He was scheduled to go on a national tour shortly before his untimely death in 2014. He was married with two sons and a daughter and two grandchildren.


Gift Buqa started his acting career at the age of 14 when he joined the Masizakhe (Let's Build Ourselves) acting group. He wrote his first play in 1990.


Gift Buqa began his career in theatre in 1979, performing in protest plays around the country during the apartheid era.

Shortly before his death, Gift Buqa directed a group of five adult township actors with Phambili Ngcayisa at the Isithatha Trust in Gqebera. He also held a youth theatre group for about 12 children - usually held in an abandoned room near the township police station.

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

2005: Co-wrote Heugh Road Blues with fellow playwright and actor, Phambili Ngcayisa, about the life of Black casual day labourers. Performed at the Market Theatre, Johannesburg. Two years later they came in second when they entered the play in the National Theatre competition at the Market Annex in Johannesburg.

2008: Acted in Heugh Road Blues at the Port Elizabeth Opera House in the One Act Play Festival. Directed by Sharon Rother, starring Phambili Ngcayisa.

2008: Co-wrote Fore with fellow playwright and actor, Phambili Ngcayisa, a play about Black golf caddies who lived in the townships. They entered the play in the National Theatre competition Market Theatre, Johannesburg, and were in the top 10.

2009: Starred in the Port Elizabeth Shakespearian Festival production of Romeo and Juliet.

9, 11 and 12 September 2009: Starred in Jean Genet's play The Balcony at the Port Elizabeth Opera House

2011: Acted in The Dancing Sangoma.

2013: Played the part of the Ghost in Hamlet, produced by the Port Elizabeth Shakespearean Festival (PESF), directed by Linda-Louise Swain. Staged in the Noel Morgan Auditorium at the Little Theatre of the Port Elizabeth Musical and Dramatic Society (PEMADS).

Wrote Uncle Rhoo, a play which was performed in Xhosa and which is about traditional funerals. The play emphasises how artists die as paupers and only receive recognition after death.

Awards, etc

2010: Named Best Performer at the 2010 Fugard Festival.

2013: Won the Showtime Award for the best play of the year along with Sharon Rother and Phambili Ngcayisa for Master Harold and the boys.

The Gift Buqa Auditorium at the Isithatha Theatre in Port Elizabeth is named after him.


"Theatre group breaks boundaries," The Herald, 25 January 2014

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