Gift Buqa

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Gift Buqa (1959-2014) was a stage and TV actor, director and playwright.


Born Nanana Amos Buqa in Gqeberqa Township, Port Elizabeth on June 6, 1959.

He completed his high school diploma at Precious Makwabe Night School and started his acting career in at the age of 14 when he joined the Masizakhe ("Let's Build Ourselves") acting group, beginning his formal career in theatre in 1979, performing in protest plays around the country during the apartheid era. He wrote his first play in 1990.

In 2014 he was scheduled to go on a national tour, but sadly died on 25 July of that year, shortly before the commencement of the tour.

He was married with two sons and a daughter and two grandchildren.

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

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

Among his many performances have been:

2004: Co-wrote and performed in Heugh Road Blues with fellow playwright and actor, Phambili Ngcayisa, a play about the life of Black casual day labourers. The play was performed on a Double Bill at The Barn in Port Elizabeth in August 2004, at the National Theatre Competition at the Market Annex in Johannesburg (2005), in the One Act Play Festival at the Port Elizabeth Opera House in 2008 (directed by Sharon Rother).

2008: Co-wrote and performed in Fore with 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.

2009: had lead roles in the Port Elizabeth Shakespearian Festival production of Romeo and Juliet and Jean Genet's play The Balcony at the Port Elizabeth Opera House

2011: Played a leading character in the 2011 SABC TV series, The Dancing Sangoma[1].

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).

Among the plays he wote or co-wrote have been:

Heugh Road Blues, Uncle Rhoo (a Xhosa play) about traditional funerals, emphasizing the dilemma of artists who often die as paupers and only receive recognition after death.

Back of Beyond (co-authored with Phambili Ngcayisa and Linda-Louise Swain, a drama about the relationship between a gardener and his madam), .

He also became involved in teaching drama in 2007 when he met another Walmer resident, Sharon Rother, of Rother Swain Studios. Their meeting later led to the formation of the Isithatha Theatre Development association and a number of productions.

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 a performance of Master Harold . . . and the boys.

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


The Herald, 26 August 2004.

"Theatre group breaks boundaries," The Herald, 25 January 2014[2]

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