Shades of Brown

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Shades of Brown is a South African play by Michael Picardie.

(Also known as Jannie Veldsman And His Struggle With The Boer.)

The original text

Written as a play for two male actors, it is set in the 1970's, what is referred to as "the Western Coloured Township".

The text was first performed in 1979 as Shades of Brown, and published under that name in Stephen Gray (ed.) Market Plays (Johannesburg: Ad. Donker. pp.74-107) in 1986.


1979: First produced in London in 1979 with Antony Sher as "Captain Jaap Van Tonder" and Michael Picardie as "Jannie Veldsman".

1980: First performed in South Africa by/for(?) students in the Asoka Theatre at the University of Durban-Westville. When the Special Branch filmed the cast and the audience, the director stopped the show.

1980: Performed at the Market Theatre in Johannesburg with Dale Cutts and Bill Curry.

Between 1980 and 1986 the play was widely performed internationally, and revived again in 2010.

Translations and adaptations

Translated into Swedish (?) and performed in Copenhagen, Stockholm, Stavanger in the early 1980's.

Adapted as a radio play for BBC Radio 4 with the title Jannie Veldsman And His Struggle With The Boer) (broadcast 11 January, 1982).

Picardie also wrote a film scenario of the text in 2012, called simply Jannie Veldsman. This is as yet unproduced and unpublished.


E-mail from Michael Picardie to Temple Hauptfleisch, Monday 2015/07/06 10:46 PM.

The Michael Picardie website at

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