Ismail Mahomed (19*-) is a South African playwright, director and arts administrator.
(Not to be confused with South African lawyer and Chief Justice Ismail Mahomed (1931-2000) )
Born in Lenasia and grew up there.
Graduated as a mathematics teacher and, having taught for 8 years, but then he gradually moved into the arts over the years, and finally, having won the Amstel Playwright of the Year award, he left teaching for a series management positions in the arts. At the same time he developed as playwright.
Career in South African theatre
He has had two related careers in the arts, one as a manager and the other as playwright.
Of Institutions, projects and theatres
His postings include Coordinator of the Education Support Project(1984 to June 1985), Director of the Creative Arts Workshop in Lenasia (1995-1996), Director of the Witbank Theatre in 1995?*, then in 2003 became Senior Cultural Specialist at the US Consulate in Johannesburg where he served as both an advisor and facilitator for the US Consulate on its varied cultural and academic exchange programming. In 2016 he was appointed the CEO of the Market Theatre Foundation.
He was also part-time organizer for a number of festivals, including the University of Witwatersrand's International Social History Festival (for the University's History Workshop Conference, 1995), Just Solo Festival (A festival of One Person Plays: Johannesburg Civic Theatre), the 10th anniversary of the Windybrow Arts Festival for Community Theatre, the 5th year Democracy Celebrations Festival for the Mpumalanga Provincial Department of Arts and Culture and the Millennium Celebrations Festival for the Emahlahleni Municipal District.
On 1 May 2008 he became Festival Director of the National Arts Festival , a post he held for eight years.
Author of a large number of plays, a number of them early, unpublished one-act plays, which tend to deal with specific social issues, a number with strong political content. These include Where Two Worlds Drift Apart, which received the Adam Leslie Award at the 1986 Amfest competition in Johannesburg, and Child of Kathrada, Conversations with Dying Comrades, Indian Coffee, mzwandile’s Guilt, Shantytown Christmas, Thank God It’s a Boy. Later professional work includes Purdah (1993), Leather Boykies (1994), Cheaper Than Roses (1995), *. Some of his work has been is included in published collections.
His work has been staged in South Africa, Chile, Denmark, Germany and in the US.
He has received an award for theatrical excellence from the South African Institute for Theatre Technology, received the Arts and Culture Trust's Arts Administrator of the Year Award in 2006, his theatre-in-education project Newsblitz! won the Caxton Media in Education award. Mahomed was also honoured by the US State Department Africa Bureau with a Merit Honor Award for his consistently high cultural programming at the US Consulate. At the beginning of 2016 he was made a Chevalier et des Artes et des Lettres by the French Government.
See Gosher, 1988 [JH]
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