Jannie Hofmeyr

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Jannie Hofmeyr (1953-). Professor and internationally renowned biochemist and systems biologist, composer, musician, cabaret artist and actor.


Born Jan-Hendrik Servaas Hofmeyr in Durban, he studied at the University of Stellenbosch, obtaining his PhD in Biochemistry in 1986. He became a lecturer at Stellenbosch and later Professor of Biocomplexity and Biochemistry, and for a while vice dean the Faculty of Sciences. He was the the co-founder and director of the Centre for Studies in Complexity with Paul Cilliers.

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

Besides his distinguished academic career in this field, Hofmeyr is a classically trained flautist and also plays the baroque flute, guitar and banjo.

He was one of the composers and performers who helped launch the Afrikaans "Kabaret" tradition in the 1980s in South Africa, through his work with authors, composers and directors such as Etienne van Heerden, Hennie Aucamp, Anthony Costandius, Herman Pretorius and Zoettje Hofmeyr in Stellenbosch.

His classic scores for Hennie Aucamp and Etienne van Heerden lyrics, for example Die Lewe is 'n Grenshotel and 'n Kwela vir Mandela, have become standard items in Afrikaans popular music. He performed his compositions in the popular TV-series Musiek en Liriek and Elke Liedjie vertel 'n Storie. Among the most notable cabaret productions he was involved with were Met Permissie Gesê (Hennie Aucamp, 1979), Onder Ekstreme Provokasie (Etienne van Heerden, 1982), Ekskuus vir die Wals, (Etienne van Heerden, regie deur Johann van Heerden, 1983), 3-D (Anthony Costandius, 1984), and Koos innie Doos (Anthony Costandius, 2005).

He was also an active member of the Libertas Theatre Club from 1974 (and chairman in the late 1980s), and acted in a host of their productions over the years, and on occasion played older characters for the University of Stellenbosch Drama Department, where his wife Zoettje Hofmeyr is a lecturer; these include André P. Brink's Pavane (1974), Die Goeie Mens van Sezuan (1976), Measure for Measure (1981), Die Vlindervanger (1986), August, August, August (1987), Hennie Aucamp's Punt in die Wind (1987), Blood Relations (1988) and Equus (1988).

Awards, etc

As an academic hs has received prestigious awards over the years, including the Harry Oppenheimer Fellowship Award | Ernest Oppenheimer Memorial Trust, the Vice-Chancellor's Award for Outstanding Research | University of Stellenbosch and the Abe Bailey Travel Bursary | Abe Bailey Trust





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