Godfrey Kenneth Frederich Beck

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Godfrey Kenneth Frederich Beck (1925-1987) Political activist, poet and playwright


Born a "coloured" man in Bertrams, a suburb to Johannesburg in South Africa. He was educated at Siemerts Road Coloured School in Johannesburg and Rehoboth Theological College in Kemptonpark, drafted for the Second World War 1940-45 and later on priest, worker in a shoe factory, salesman and union leader.

Beck became politically active in 1954, was arrested in 1960 and grounded 1965-67, where he escaped to Botswana and was sent back to prison in South Africa in 1973. He went to to Denmark as a political refugee in 1974 where he stayed till his death in Aarhus in 1986. Beck was an important figure in Scandinavia in the organisation of information and boycot campaigns against Apartheid.

His writing

Beck also wrote poetry and plays: § 23 – Et spil om Sydafrikas “Immorality Act” (The Pathos and Echoes of Love) 1976 and De syv trin ("The Seven Steps") 1983 were staged in Denmark as a part of the fight against apartheid in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

The plays were based on real situations and court cases and combined coarse language and poetry.


[John Andreasen*]

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